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ASCI processes complaints against 295 ads

In July 2018, Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) investigated complaints against 295 advertisements. For 79 advertisements, the advertisers promptly ensured corrective action as soon as the complaints were received. ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 176 advertisements from a total of 216 advertisements evaluated by them. 

Of the 176 advertisements wherein the complaints were upheld, 111 belonged to the education sector, 25 to the food & beverages category, 21 to the healthcare sector, four to personal care and 15 were from the ‘others’ category. 

The most common reason for upholding complaints was superlative claims by advertisers, especially for education sector advertisements. The claims were unsubstantiated and misleading that they provide 100 per cent placement or they are No. 1. The other reasons comprised making claims which were misleading by ambiguity or by implication, exploiting consumers’ lack of knowledge and likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. This was followed by violations of the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act (DMR Act) and the Drugs and Cosmetics (D&C) Rules and advertisements which contravened various ASCI guidelines. 

Amongst various advertisements that were examined, the CCC observed some advertisements that were in violation of ASCI Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising. An eminent sports celebrity was found to endorse an artificial sweetener that claimed to control blood sugar. Another celebrity was found to endorse a shampoo brand promising to make your hair problem free. Furthermore, a renowned celebrity was found to endorse a water purifier, wherein the claims made in the advertisement were not substantiated. 

“ASCI’s Suo Moto surveillance of print and TV advertisements picks a large number of potentially misleading advertisements. The Consumer Complaints Council finds that a major proportion of these advertisements belong to the Education Sector. Educational Institutions which offer programmes of education and training play a vital role in building educational capital in India. Parents, too, make great sacrifices to enable their children to get the right education. Therefore, high incidence of misleading advertisements in this sector is worrisome and requires urgent attention from the Ministry of HRD,” said Shweta Purandare, Secretary General, ASCI. 

Complaints against following advertisements were upheld - 

EDUCATION - Total of 111 advertisements complained against

  • Direct Complaints (10 advertisements)
  • Suo Moto Surveillance by ASCI (101 advertisements)

FOOD AND BEVERAGES - Total of 25 advertisements complained against

  • Direct Complaints (14 advertisements)
  • Suo Moto Surveillance by ASCI (11 advertisements)

HEALTHCARE - Total of 21 advertisements complained against

  • Direct Complaints (3 advertisements)
  • Suo Moto Surveillance by ASCI (18 advertisements)

PERSONAL CARE - Total of 4 advertisements complained against

  • Direct Complaints (2 advertisements)
  • Suo Moto Surveillance by ASCI (2 advertisements)

OTHERS – Total of 15 advertisements complained against

  • Direct Complaints (10 advertisements)
  • Suo Moto Surveillance by ASCI (5 advertisements)

Direct complaints

The advertisements given below were complained against by the general public or by industry members. Of the 103 advertisements complained against, for 24 cases the advertisements were promptly withdrawn by the advertiser on receiving ASCI communication. For the remaining 79 advertisements, complaints against 39 advertisements were upheld by the CCC of which 14 were of the Food & Beverages category, 10 belonged to the Education category, three advertisements belonged to Healthcare sector, two to Personal care sector, and 10 belonged to the ‘Others’ category.

Complaints against the following advertisements were upheld as the advertisements were in violation of ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising:

  1. Blue Mount Appliances Pvt Ltd. (Blue Mount RO): The advertisement features celebrity Karishma Kapoor. The claim, “India’s 1st Alkaline RO Water Purifier with LED Display”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s product and other RO water purifiers in India, to prove that their product is India’s first with the feature of LED display or through third party validation. Additionally, the claims, “Adds essential minerals”, and “Enhances oxygen level of purified water”, were not substantiated with technical test reports for the claimed benefits of the product. The claims are misleading by exaggeration and are likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. Karisma Kapoor endorsing such claims in the advertisement was in violation of ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising. 
  1. Dabur India Limited (Dabur Vatika Shampoo): In the advertisement, a few women were seen asking actress Kareena Kapoor Khan for a solution to their hair problems to which she replies that they should use the all new Dabur Vatika Shampoo with the ‘saat poshan’ (seven benefits) of ingredients such as henna, shikakai and amla which makes hair problem free and healthy. The advertiser did not furnish any evidence of the consent of the celebrity herself for the product efficacy claims referred in the advertisement. This contravened the Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising. Claim, “Isme hai heena, shikakai, amla jaise sattposhan ki natural Shakti”,“Jo banaye baalon ko problem free”, was inadequately substantiated. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. The visual depiction of celebrity’s hair was misleading by omission of a reference in the TVC that optimum level of lighting, make up etc is done to the artist to achieve the look. 

Two advertisements violated Chapter III (Unsafe Practices) of ASCI Code: 

  1. Indospirit Beverages Pvt Ltd (Bro Code): The pack advertisement’s claim, “Are you game? Because this drink really is. Kickstart the fireworks, sink in the electricity and you’re up for a ride. A bullet start to a night of debauchery”, refers to an unsafe practice and manifests a disregard for safety, as it is promoting drinkers to indulge in unethical behaviour. 
  1. Saregama India Ltd (Saregama Carvaan): This advertisement shows an animation film, wherein a father and daughter are seen on a scooter and both are not wearing helmets. The visual of “a rider and a pillion rider on a two wheeler without helmets”, shows violation of traffic rules and is an unsafe and a dangerous practice, which manifests a disregard for safety and encourages negligence.

FOOD AND BEVERAGES

In several cases it was observed that the advertisements exploit consumers’ lack of knowledge and are likely to lead to grave disappointment in the minds of consumers. Complaints against the following ads were upheld:

Danone, Shiv Agro Food Products (Shudh Amras), Hem’s Food Pvt Ltd. (Hem’s Millet Soupy Noodles), Hem’s Food Pvt. Ltd (Hem’s Noodles - Natural Taste Mix- Tomato Onion), S.K.B. Industries (Aunty Supari), Kelzai Secrets Limited (Kelzai Volcanic Water), Zenith Nutrition (Zenith Resveratrol Plus Gymnema), Zenith Nutrition (Hawthorn Extract), Zenith Nutrition (Ginkgo Biloba Bilberry Lutien), Zenith Nutrition (Zenith Astazanthin), Zenith Nutrition (Chaste Berry), and Zenith Nutrition (Memory Fab Capsules).

EDUCATION

The CCC found claims in the advertisements by five advertisers that were not substantiated and were in violation of ASCI Guidelines for Advertising for Educational Institutions:

Institute of Engineering & Management, Law Prep Tutorial, Oak Ridge International School, Sri Chaitanaya Educational Institutions, and Dwisha International.

Complaints against advertisements of five educational institutes listed below were upheld mainly because of unsubstantiated claims AND/OR misleading claims that they provide 100 per cent placement/ placement assistance AND/OR they claim to be the No.1 in their respective fields.

Florence College Of Nursing, Acharya Institutes - Acharya School of Management, IMS Business School - Institute of Management Study, NERIM - (North Eastern Regional Institute of Management) and Hi-Tech Institute of Technology.

HEALTHCARE

The CCC found claims of three advertisements in healthcare products or services to be either misleading or false or not adequately/ scientifically substantiated; hence in violation of the ASCI Code. Complaints against the following advertisements were upheld:

Bhargava Phyto Lab Pvt Ltd, Medlife International Private Limited (Medlife Copper Bottle), and Altos Enterprises Ltd. (Oregel Diab).

PERSONAL CARE

Hindustan Unilever Ltd (Dove Go Body Lotion): The advertisement’s claim in the visual, “Get cool and fresh skin this summer with fresh cucumber and cool menthol” in the Facebook post video was inadequately substantiated. The corresponding claim in the Facebook post “Get cool and fresh skin with Dove Go Fresh Body lotion - With the goodness of cucumber, menthol and green tea to give you a boost of freshness” is misleading by ambiguity and implication.

OTHERS

Natraj Atta Maker: The advertisement’s claim, “Their Atta Maker is the only Sarva Shreshtha (The Best)”, was not substantiated with any market survey data, or with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s atta maker  and other atta maker brands to prove that their brand is the “only best” than the others, or through an independent  third party validation.

Hyundai Motors India Limited (Hyundai Creta): In the advertisement, Hyundai advertised about Creta’s face lift model. The advertisement also mentioned that special offer for select corporates, Doctors, CAs and SMEs. The said claim/ offer was not substantiated and was misleading by ambiguity and implication.

Gillette India Ltd (Oral- B Toothbrush): The advertisement’s claim, (in Bengali) “Briselse neemer upadan ache” (“Bristles infused with neem extract”) was not substantiated. The claim is misleading by ambiguity and implication that Oral-B toothbrush users will benefit as the bristles contain neem extract and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. 

Kalyan Group: The advertisement claimed 25 fully automatic Benz car for its customers by lucky draw by Actress Manju Varier in Television commercial. The TVC did not provide the details where the Terms & Conditions are accessible to consumers for details of the offer. 

Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (Good Knight Power Active+): The advertisement’s claim, “With Good Knight Power Activ+ extra power molecules, the mosquitoes won't just leave the house, they'll leave the world” (“duniya chhod ke bhaagega”), was not substantiated and was misleading by implication. The claim, "Sabse Shaktishaali" was a superlative claim which was not substantiated. 

Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (Good Knight Powerchip): The advertisement’s claim “Good Knight Powerchip with the power of 100 coils” (“Sau coils ke power wala”) was not substantiated. The claim is misleading by ambiguity and implication and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. 

IncNut Digital Pvt Ltd (Stylecraze): The advertisement’s claim, “World’s largest website for women”, was inadequately substantiated. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. 

SUO MOTO Surveillance by ASCI 

The advertisements mentioned below were picked through ASCI’s Suo Moto surveillance of Print and TV media via the National Advertisement Monitoring Services (NAMS) project. Out of total 192 advertisements, for 55 cases the advertisers withdrew the advertisements as soon as they received communication from ASCI and the rest 137 advertisements were considered to be misleading. Of the total of 137 advertisements, 101 belonged to the Education category, 18 advertisements belonged to the Healthcare category, 11 belonged to the Food & Beverages category, two to Personal care category, and five belonged to the ‘Others’ category

The below advertisement violated ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising: 

  1. Mankind Pharma Ltd (Kaloree 1): In the advertisement, sports personality Sania Mirza was seen endorsing the product. The terminology, “For controlling your blood sugar” in the advertisement was incorrect since the word “control” also implies bringing down an already high value – which is not the role of a sugar substitutes. The claim exploits consumers’ lack of knowledge and is likely to result in widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. The visual of the celebrity when seen in conjunction with the claim is likely to mislead consumers regarding the product benefit. This contravened the ASCI Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising. 

EDUCATION 

The CCC found claims in the advertisements by 36 advertisers that were not substantiated and thus, in violation of ASCI Guidelines for Advertising for Educational Institutions. Several claims were misleading by exaggeration. 

Chandigarh University, Gitam University – Gitam Institute of Management, Career Point, Sri Sai Coaching Centre, Yuwam Education Pvt Ltd, Abhigyan Sarokar, Avinashilingam institute for Home Science & Hr ED, Made Easy, My Class Teacher, S K Educations Pvt Ltd (Bachpan Play School), Lathi Classes Nainavati, Adelante Education, Balaji Institute, Biology Trunk Coaching Institute, Bodhayan Coaching, Budania Education Group (Budania IAS Academy), Saksham Education Institute, Siksha O Anusandhan University, Spurthy Institutions, College of Banking Studies (CBS), Khelgaon Public School, Aravali Institute, Arjun Classes, Budania Education Group (Budania IAS Academy), BSC Academy, Shivani Public School, Turning Point Defence Academy, Millennium Software Solutions Pvt Ltd, NM Classes, NIBF-Institute of Banking and Finance, Quest Coaching, Budania Education Group – Budania IAS Academy, Centurion Academy, Chaitanya Junior College, and Dr. Mehta’s Classes. 

Complaints against advertisements of 65 educational institutes listed below are UPHELD mainly because of unsubstantiated claims AND/OR misleading claims that they provide 100 per cent placement/ placement assistance AND/OR they claim to be the No.1 in their respective fields. 

Vinay’s IAS Academy, Brilliant Tutorials, Dr. Virendra Swarup Group of Institutions, V Rahul Coaching, Sri Akshara Coaching (Nellore), Turning Point/Srushti Pu Clg, Bhanwar Rathore Design Studio, Panache Academy, Vijetha Coaching Centre, Global Institute - Global Computer Training Academy, Matsya Health Care Skills Learn Academy, Heer Computer Education, Kaplon Education Pvt Ltd. (American Academy of Aviation & Hotel Management), Sri Chaitanya Degree College, Shekhars Institute, Zee Interactive Learning System  (Kidzee Pre School), Indian Safety Solution-VC, Alpha Entrance Academy, Amirta InternationalInstitute of Hotel Management, AMITY University, Blooming Buds Foundation School, Rakshak Defence Academy, S.S.S College, St. Soldier Group Institutions, Subhas Bose Institute of Hotel Management, United Group of InstitutionsUnited College of Engineering and research, Universal Group of Institutions, Vasan Institute of Opthalmology and Research, Vignan Vidyalayam Junior College, Vellore Institute of Technology- VIT, Global Council of Education Research and Training, Ayurillam Ayurveda Hospital abd School of Nursing International, Hindustan Air Academy, IITC (India International Trade Center), Cavalier India, Knowledge Academy, Ishwar Kripa Career Inst (JPR), APNET Computer Education, ASEL English Learning Centre, Basara Institute, Siddhartha Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, HT Learning Centers Pvt Ltd (Study Mate), Swamy Abedhanandha Polytechnic College, NRS Brilliant Junior & Medical Academy, Nucleus Chemistry Classes, Zabeel International Institute of Management and Technology, G-Tec Education Computer, Indian Institute of Hotel Management, Institute of Technology & Management, Millennium Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Munimji Training & Placement Academy, National Council for Fire & Safety Engineering, Neev Classes,Global Institute of Technical Design, Cellsius AIIMS/ NEET, Computer Foundation, Cosmo Career Institute, Defence World, Delta Defence Academy, Gandhi Institute of Hotel Management, Doon Group of Colleges, FCI Institute of Hotel Management, Futurecareer Solutions  Pvt. Ltd, Maharaja Indrajeet Singh College of Nursing and Giani Zail Singh Campus College of Engineering and Technology- Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Technical University. 

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