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ASCI brings 29 ads under the scanner; 2 ads withdrawn, five modified

23-March-2009
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ASCI brings 29 ads under the scanner; 2 ads withdrawn, five modified

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has released its report for the period October-December 2008 on ads that were either withdrawn or modified. A total of 29 ads had been brought under the scanner, of which two ads have been withdrawn, five modified, and one already ended as it was an event-specific time bound communication.

Eighteen ads were not upheld by the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC), while three ads are still under consideration and assurance is awaited that the offending claims are not repeated by the advertisers and the ad agencies.

Among the ads withdrawn is that of Symbiosis (International English Course) for a billboard put up in Kerala. The ad shows a squirrel chopped into pieces with pieces being shown as pieces of fruits with the tagline – ‘Want to be fruitful’. As per ASCI, the picture shown in the ad promotes violence towards an animal, which is likely to cause grave or widespread offence. The advertisement was withdrawn from October 15, 2008.

Under the print category, an ad that has been discontinued is that of The Telegraph Classifieds ‘Auto Market’ ad. The ad showed four persons on a motorbike with the headline – ‘Ready to buy a car’. The advertisement shows a dangerous practice and manifests a disregard for safety without justifiable reason. It was also considered to be in violation of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

Among the modified ads were: Tele Health Care; Yahoo Web Services India Pvt Ltd (TVC); Timex Group India Ltd (TVC); Wings Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd (TVC) and MM Publications Ltd for Vanitha - Permanent Special (brochure).

The Tele Health Care ad, which was issued in Mumbai Mirror, stated that the ‘Tall You Cosmetics’ can increase height. However, as per ASCI, it was a false claim and was not sustainable. The advertisement was misleading by ambiguity and hence modified.

The Yahoo Web Services TVC created by O&M, too, came under the scanner as it was found in bad taste and embarrassing for people who stammer as it showed a person who stammers skydiving and failing to count up to 10 before opening his parachute. The TVC has now been modified due to this insensitive portrayal.

Another TVC from Timex Group depicted an action sequence, which has been modified as it showed dangerous practice and manifest a disregard for safety without justifiable reason.

The TVC from Wings Pharmaceutical for Diclowin Plus Gel and Tablets has been appropriately modified as the ad implied that like Diclowin Gel, the tablets were also over-the-counter product that did not require any medical prescription.

A brochure ad in MM publications for the Vanitha Special was modified appropriately as the claims made in it were not supported with the source of data. The brochure had mentioned that over 36 per cent readers belonged to SEC A1+, over 30 per cent readers had an MHI of 10001+, and over 78 per cent readers were regular shoppers.

One of the NEO Sports ads that appeared on BEST buses also came under the scanner, but had already ended as it was an event-specific time bound communication. The ad showed a bleeding toe and stated ‘Last year, not all of Bret Lee’s Yorkers hit the wicket’. The advertisement appeared to be in contravention of the ASCI code.

Three ads that were brought under the ASCI were upheld by the CCC, but are still awaiting assurance of compliance from the advertisers/ ad agencies. They are Pantaloon retail print ads, banners and bills; Naveen Advertisements for Hanuman Kavach TVC; and New Bharath Tyres India print ads. The advertisers of Hanuman Kavach have verbally informed that the TVC had been discontinued, but an assurance of compliance in writing is awaited from the advertiser.

There were in all 18 ads that were brought under the scanner but were not upheld by the CCC. They include: Nestle India for ‘Maggi Vegetable Atta Noodles’; ITC Ltd for ‘Mangaldeep 5-in-1 Agarbattis’, Reliance Communications TVC created by Cartwheel Communications; Gillette India Ltd; Vodafone Essar Ltd TVC on conferencing facility; Kothari Products Ltd for Pan Parag Masala; Pepsi Foods Pvt Ltd for Tropicana Juice; Dharampal Satyapal Ltd for Rajnigandha Meetha Mazaa; HP Compaq Computers; Motorola India; Lee Cooper India; Samsung Silver Nano washing machine; Kit Ply Plywood; Virgin Mobile YoYo offer; Bank of Baroda TVC, Cipla i-Pill TVC; and Arvind Murjani Brands Pvt Ltd print ad for Tommy Hilfiger.

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