ASCI upholds complaints against three online ads and one YouTube ad

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising
Last updated : August 26, 2013
Complaints against Sun Silk Perfect Straight's YouTube ad, and online ads of Lavanya Ayurvedic Hospital, Emami Fair and Handsome cream and Karbonn A21 were upheld in June 2013.

The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has upheld complaints against four online ads for the first time. Out of these four ads, one is that of Hindustan Unilever on the YouTube Channel.


Apart from this, ASCI upheld complaints against 144 out of 174 ads in June, 2013. Most of the misleading ads were from the health and personal care category, followed by the education sector.

ASCI, through the National Advertising Monitoring Service (NAMS), has already started post tracking of ads in print and TV against which complaints are upheld. Initial tracking results show 90 per cent compliance from advertisers on ASCI's decisions, as per the official press statement.

The CCC found the claims in 58 health and personal care products or service ads released in the press to be misleading, false or not adequately/scientifically substantiated and hence violating Chapter I of the ASCI Code. Some of the health care products or services ads also contravened provisions of the Drug & Magic Remedies Act. Complaints against the ads which were upheld included the ad of Sun Silk Perfect Straight (HUL) that appeared online on the YouTube channel and shows 'a girl packing/selecting all her hair straightening equipment and her friend telling her about a shampoo that can keep the hair perfectly straight after attending a gym session, party or even in other situations'.

Meanwhile, the Fem Turmeric Herbal Bleach (Dabur India) ad claimed that it is a 'herbal, mild & ammonia free bleach' and the Johnson's Baby Natural Massaging Oil claimed that the 'oil helps in 47 per cent more weight gain'. Complaints against these two ads were upheld, as were those against ads of Zee Laboratories, Reckitt Benckiser's (India) Mortein Naturguard, Himalaya Complete Care Toothpaste, Zandu Sonachandi Chyawanprash and Livon Hair Gain Tonic.

The online ad of Lavanya Ayurvedic Hospital claimed that it cures cancer and AIDS and the complaint against the ad was upheld.

The CCC found that the Ponds BB Cream and Emami Fair and Handsome cream ads violated Chapter III 1(b) of the ASCI Code as they derides colour of the skin. Hence, the complaints against these two ads were upheld. Emami Fair and Handsome cream in its online ad showed a flow chart that depicts the various problems such as inferiority complex affecting dark skinned people.

The CCC found that the ads of Amba Health Clinic and French Factor Lust in the health and personal care ads released in the press violated Chapter II of the ASCI Code. Complaints against both these ads were upheld.

Claims in print ads of 57 different advertisers in the education category were not substantiated, violating the ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions and hence the complaints against the ads were upheld. The ads included that of IAM Institute of Hotel Management, Yashi Films and Satyam Computer Education.

The CCC concluded that the claims mentioned in eight ads (consumer durables category) cited in the complaints were not substantiated. The ads contravened Chapter I of the Code and the complaints against them were upheld. The ads included Karbonn A21 online ad, which claimed that the battery of the mobile phone never drains out and Samsung Galaxy 4's TVC, which shows a person telling his friend that he has bought a Samsung Galaxy 4, and 'paid zero' for it. After a pause, he adds, 'Zero Down Payment, Zero - charge.'

In the telecom category, the CCC concluded that the claim of Tata Docomo Network ad, 'leading pizza delivery chains use Tata Docomo network', was not substantiated as the support was provided only for one chain - Pizza Hut. The ad contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code and the complaint was upheld.

In the media category, the ad of CNBC Awaaz depicts five bar graphs. The tallest bar graph signifies CNBC Awaaz with 0.26 figure indicated on top of it. The second tallest graph with a figure of 0.16 representing Zee Business is reduced to half the size of CNBC Awaaz's graph and, the trend of drastically reducing the length of bar graphs of other channels viz. ET Now (0.06), NDTV Profit (0.02) and Bloomberg UTV (0.01) is followed. Basing its claim on TAM data, CNBC Awaaz has not mentioned the metric (viewership reach, share or GRPs) on which it claimed the top position in comparison with other channels. The CCC concluded that the claim of CNBC Awaaz being 'No.1' was not substantiated with comparative data, and was misleading by omission. Hence, the complaint was upheld.

In its print ad, Punjab Kesari claimed circulation leadership across the states of Punjab, Haryana Chandigarh, Himachal and J&K. In the absence of comments from the advertiser, the CCC concluded that the claims mentioned in the ad were not substantiated. Also, the ad was misleading by omission. The ad contravened Chapters I.1 and I.4 of the Code. The complaint was upheld.

The complaint against Bennett Coleman & Co's 'I Lead India Campaign' (Times of India) print ad stated that "the ad shows a dishevelled face with the alarming words: 'Dude, these Stray Dogs are a Menace.'"The objective of the ad is to encourage unbridled, illegal, criminal vigilantism which seeks to persecute innocent, defenceless and harmless stray dogs of India. It is in direct conflict with the Constitution of India. Also, it is in violation of its laws from the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act". The CCC concluded that the ad headline, "These stray dogs are a menace", read in conjunction with the statements like "You rave about them. You rant about them and remember if it makes your blood boil gives an impression that stray dogs are a real menace to society." This is likely to cause grave and widespread offence. The ad contravened Chapter II of the Code. The complaint was upheld.

In the automobile category, the TVC of Mahindra Maximo shows a hero who is always in a hurry and constantly repeats 'Jara Jaldi Mein Hoon'. He is shown overtaking a pick-up on a curve in the road. This amounts to dangerous driving. The CCC concluded the TVC showed dangerous driving. The ad contravened Clause (b) of the ASCI Guidelines on Ads for Automotive Vehicles. The complaint was upheld.

The CCC concluded that the claims indicated in four ads in food & beverages were not substantiated. The ads included that of Hide n Seek, I-Flo Salt, Pizza Hut and Cadbury India's Tang. The ads contravened Chapter I.1 or F&B ad guidelines of the Code. The complaints were upheld.

First Published : August 26, 2013
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