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ASCI upholds complaints against 34 ads, across categories, over the last five months

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | May 31, 2011
Dabur, ITC, Procter & Gamble, Hyundai and United Spirits feature among the companies whose ads have been found objectionable.

The Advertising Standards Council of India's (ASCI's) Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) has upheld complaints against 34 advertisements, between November 2010 and February 2011 (both months included) in the FMCG, media, automobile, healthcare, education, and alcohol sectors among others.

The advertisements under the ASCI scanner were of Dabur, Hindustan Unilever, ITC, L'Oreal, Procter & Gamble, Pernod Ricard, American Tourister, Kent RO Systems, Naaptol, Reebok India, Dainik Bhaskar, Lokmat, Pudhari, Ceat, Hyundai Motors, TVS Motor Company, Lavanya Ayurvedic Cancer Hospital, Shree Maruti Herbal, Career Launcher, IMS Learning Resources, Noesis Education, T.I.M.E. Institute, Sab Miller India, United Spirits, New Look Skin Care Centre, Indiatimes Shopping and Dish TV.

The complaints received on advertisements of HUL, Procter & Gamble, L'Oreal, Dabur, Dish TV, Kent RO Systems and Shree Maruti Herbal questioned the leadership comparisons or comparative benefits claimed by the brands in their advertisements with competing products.

Following CCC's intervention, appropriate modifications were made, or the advertisement was discontinued. In the case of ITC's Vivel TVC, the film was brought under the scanner, with the portrayal and projection of women with dark skin leading to the discontinuation of the ad.

In the case of the alcohol brand, the CCC found Pernod Ricard's Royal Stag advertisement through surrogate advertising, promoting an alcohol product during a cricket match, which led to its discontinuation. Similarly, Sab Miller India's Hayward and Hayward 5000, and United Spirits' McDowell's were found violating the Cable TV Network Rules and the ASCI code on surrogate advertising. The ads have been withdrawn.

In the case of American Tourister, the tagline used by the brand in one of its films (Survive Istanbul. Survive the World), was found to be marring Turkey's reputation as a tourist destination, and not in line with ASCI's code under Chapter III.1 (b). In Naaptol's Biomagnetic Titanium Bracelet ad, the advertiser did not respond to the CCC, and the council concluded that the advertiser's claims were not substantiated. Suitable modifications have been made in both advertisements.

Dainik Bhaskar's and Pudhari's advertisements came under scrutiny, as a result of complaints made on its claims that were found as ones not allowed by the CCC, leading to them being withdrawn.

In the case of TVS Motor Company, stunts used to depict the power or capacity of the advertised product was complained against. The advertisement was found to be contravene Clause C of the ASCI Guidelines on Advertisements for Automotive Vehicles, as some of the stunts were shown in normal traffic conditions. TVS Motors has modified the advertisement, post the intervention by CCC.

In the auto sector, Hyundai Motors' TVC has been withdrawn altogether, while Ceat's film has been modified due to the dangerous practices shown in the TVC.

In the education sector, two complaints were made against T.I.M.E's MBA-CET 2010 advertisement. While the advertiser substantiated one of the claims made, appropriate changes were made with regards to the second complaint since the claim could not be substantiated.

Noesis Education's unsubstantiated claim of a high success ratio was not substantiated and the advertisement has been modified.

Complaints against New Look Skincare, Lavanya Ayurvedic Cancer Hospital, Reebok India, Indiatimes Shopping, and Lokmat Newspaper were also upheld on the basis of unsubstantiated claims that were found to be misleading the consumer.

Among the complaints that were not upheld during the period included 19 complaints related to advertisements by Axis Bank, Pantaloon Retail, Cadbury, Reckitt Benckiser, Tata Sky, Perfetti Van Melle, Tata Motors, Akzo Nobel India, Artsana India, Multi Screen Media, and RR Industries, among others.

For the record, the ASCI is a self-regulatory voluntary organisation of the advertising industry. The role and functioning of the ASCI and the CCC is in dealing with complaints received from consumers and 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.

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