The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a self-regulatory body that propagates responsible advertising, has released a report about the complaints it received and upheld in the month of December, 2015. The ASCI's Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) received complaints against 79 ads; complaints against 42 were upheld.
Of these, eight ads belonged to the healthcare category, nine belonged to the education category, and seven belonged to the e-commerce category. Three ads were from the telecommunications and broadband category, while 15 were from the 'others' category.
Brands that were pulled up for their ads within the healthcare segment include Life Cell International (Stem Cell Banking), Shathayu Ayurveda (Manage Diabetes by Ayurveda Panchakarma - Detox), M/s S A Safiullah & Co (Nizam Pakku), Iqra Herbals (IH3 Capsules-Penis Enlargement Capsules, NightKing Delay Liquid, Virgin Again), Baljiwan Medicines (Baljiwan Ghutti), and Apollo Heart Centre (heart blockages treatment without operations). Most were found to be either misleading or false, or not adequately/scientifically substantiated, and hence, violated the ASCI code.
Some health care products/services advertisements also contravened provisions of the Drug and Magic Remedies Act and Chapter I.I and III.4 of the ASCI Code.
Education brands which violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions due to their unsubstantiated claims comprise Shyamli Institute of Hotel Management, Knowledge Station India (The Santa Kidz), Triumphant Institute of Management Education (TIME Tuitions, Aqua Regia the Science Quiz 2015, Times Google Search Result Validation), CL Educate (CAT 16/17 Program) and Mahendra Education (Mahendra's No.1 institute). T.I.M.E's advertisement's claim, "T.I.M.E., the national leader in entrance exam training with 200+ centres across India", was not substantiated with supporting data.
Seven Mantras, Snapdeal, OLX India (Olx.in), Koovs Marketing Consulting (Koovs.com), Uber India (Uber Cabs) and One Mobikwik Systems (Mobikwik cashback offer), were found to be the objectionable brands in the e-commerce segment owing to false or unsubstantiated claims, promoting unsafe practices and deriding a certain caste of people (the baniya community) in the Snapdeal ad.
The telecommunications and broadband brands found objectionable include Bharti Airtel (50 per cent cash back, unlimited songs for free, 50 per cent data offer) for incorrect and misleading claims.
Brands which were found to be in violation of ASCI's Code in the 'others' segment include Tata Steel (Tata Shaktee steel roofing sheets), Devi Lal Tantrik, Honda Cars India (Honda Amaze), Agarwal d2d Packers and Movers, Bharti Axa Life Insurance Company (Bharti Axa Life Invest Once), Microtek International (Microtek Inverter UPS), KFC Corporation (offer of two pieces of chicken for Rs 99), Kwality Confectioners and Bakery (India) (Brown Bread), Manju Groups (Manju Groups Bhavishya Beach), Ruparel Group (Ruparel Reality), The Wadia Group (Bombay Reality), Colgate-Palmolive India (Colgate), Marico (Nihar Shanti Amla Hair Oil), Times Broadcasting (ET Now), and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC World News).
The ASCI, established in 1985, launched a mobile app in June 2015, which allows consumers to complain against offensive ads by clicking pictures of the same and sending it to the ASCI instantly.