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ASCI takes action against 11 advertisers for misleading ads

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ASCI takes action against 11 advertisers for misleading ads

Withdrawal and modification is the name of the game for the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). In a circular issued recently, ASCI has taken action against 11 advertisers on grounds of being either misleading, unsubstantiated or objectionable. This is based on the complaints that were upheld by the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) for the period October to December 2005.

Of the ads that were complained against, as many as seven have been withdrawn. These include Yum Restaurants (Freshizza), created by JWT and objected on the grounds of being misleading due to its claim ‘our dough is fresh and not made in the factory unlike others’. The second TVC withdrawn, again on the ground of being ‘misleading by gross exaggeration’, is that of ITC Ltd’s Sunfeast Milky Magic Biscuits, which was created by FCB Ulka.

Hidesign’s ad for its leather bag was under scrutiny on the ground that the ad was likely to cause widespread offence, particularly to women, and was hence withdrawn. The ad created by Triton for United Breweries’ Sand Piper Malt Beverage was withdrawn as the ‘Ad could suggest to consumers that it is an Ad for the liquor brand and that if it wasn’t for a liquor product, there wasn’t enough data to substantiate that’.

Similarly, Pripha Pharma’s ad has been discontinued as the ad’s claim that the Prince Pharma research team concluded that MIGRO – 2 is a proven successful remedy for migraine is not substantiated. Two other ads that haven’t been on air after coming under the scanner are Gillette India’s Duracell Batteries. The radio spot was created by O&M and the main point of contention was the usage of Amitabh Bachchan’s voice. Since Bachchan is the brand ambassador for Eveready, ASCI considered it a misleading ad by implication – that the product is being recommended by an identifiable celebrity and took unfair advantage of the goodwill acquired by another advertiser’s advertising campaign.

Yet another one hit on similar lines is ITC’s Mangaldeep 5-in-1 Agarbatti ads – again created by O&M. The complaint was that the ad was not just denigrating another product, but it was similar to that of the complainant’s TVC and hence, suggested plagiarism. However, CCI didn’t uphold the latter half of the complaint. The TVC nonetheless hasn’t been on air since.

Two ads that were complained about but didn’t see any action taken since one was a one-off ad and in the case of the second, the campaign had concluded, were that of Hotel NKM’s Grand. In this case, too, the advertiser took advantage of the goodwill acquired by another advertiser’s advertising campaign and that since the ad was too similar to another advertiser’s earlier run campaign, Hotel NKM’s Grand ad did become a case of plagiarism.

The second one here was the Air-India ad about special fares to the US, the UK and Europe. The ad was misleading since the charges advertised varied considerably from the actual charges. The advertiser has assured appropriate modification of the ad in future.

Among the ads that were modified are Vellore Institute of Technology’s ad on the first Indian University to get British accreditation and Johnson & Johnson’s Stayfree Secure Dry. Elegant Publicities has created the first ad. Responding to the charge of being misleading, the ad was changed and the advertiser provided additional information.

In regards to the second, which was a McCann Erickson creation, the TVC was modified on the charge of being an unsubstantiated ad.


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