ASCI takes action on several complaints

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | February 18, 2010
The council has taken decisions regarding certain ads that were brought to its notice

December 2009 was an eventful time for the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), as it took decisions about several ads that had been complained about.

Complaints about inappropriate advertising can be sent to the ASCI by industry people, consumer representational organisations or ASCI members themselves.

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Withdrawal, suspension, or modification of ads are some of the decisions that have been taken, regarding the complaints that were received by the ASCI. These decisions are taken by the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC), based on the book of regulations created by the ASCI for such cases.

In the case of Telemart Shopping Network, the advertiser had claimed that the Saptarishi Panchmukhi Hanuman Kavach had supernatural qualities, which would provide energy and fend off the wearer's problems, whether related to health, wealth or wisdom.

When questioned about these claims, Telemart Shopping Network could not substantiate that the product indeed had supernatural qualities. Since the claims were gross exaggerations, the TVC has been withdrawn.

An industry member complained regarding a TVC for Supermax Ultimate 3-blade Innovation, the shaving razor from Wesley International. The TVC claimed that the product was the ultimate three-blade innovation with absolute control. It also claimed that Supermax provided "endless shaves" and "zero irritation" and that it was the "ultimate in shaving comfort".

After the CCC investigated the Supermax complaint, it learned that the claims were false and baseless, and thus, misleading for consumers. The ad has since been suspended, and the advertiser has assured that the claims previously made would not be repeated in subsequent ads and promotional material.

Another complaint pertained to a recent ad for Mamy Poko Pants (baby diapers) from Unicham India. In the ad, created by Dentsu Creative Impact -- the agency on the account - it is claimed that Mamy Poko is Japan's No. 1 diaper brand. However, it has been found that the variant of Mamy Poko diapers being sold in India is not sold in Japan. Due to the misleading and false claim, the ad has been suspended. The advertiser has also assured that appropriate modification of the TVC will be carried out.

Another case was of Otrivin Nasal Spray, which took suo moto action on its TVC. The ad shows the protagonist using his foot to prevent the doors of a lift from closing. As the visual showed a dangerous practice without justifiable reason, the CCC has asked the advertiser to modify the ad.

Lastly, in the case of the Airtel Digital TV ads, the claim that MPEG 4 technology led to better picture quality was upheld as being false. MPEG 4 technology enables compression, so that a greater number of channels can be part of the given bandwidth. afaqs! had previously reported the action on this complaint.

For the record, the Advertising Standards Council of India is a self-regulatory, voluntary organisation of the advertising industry. ASCI and CCC deal with complaints received from consumers and the industry against advertisements which are considered false, misleading, indecent, illegal, leading to unsafe practices or unfair to competition; and consequently, in contravention of the ASCI Code for Self-Regulation in Advertising.