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 January, 2016. The ASCI's Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) received complaints against 102 ads; complaints against 51 ads were upheld.
Of these, 13 ads belonged to the education segment, while 12 ads belonged to the food and beverages category; eleven ads belonged to the healthcare category, and six belonged to the e-commerce category. Nine ads belonged to other product categories.
Brands that were pulled up for their ads within the education segment for unsubstantiated claims include Rice Education, Adamas Career, TathaGat (MBA Entrance / CAT coaching), Think & Learn (Byju's Cat Coaching Institute, Byju's Classes), IMS Learning Resources (IMS CAT Coaching), Bulls Eye, CL Educate (Career Launcher), Career Launcher (CAT'16/17), Shanti Business School, National Banking Academy, Mewar Classes (Crash Course), and Sriram Law Academy.
The food and beverages brands found objectionable were Dabur India (Dabur Chyawanprash, Dabur Honey), Patanjali Ayurved (Patanjali Pure Cow's Ghee, Patanjali Atta Noodles), Jivo Wellness (Jivo Canola Oils), Kunnath Pharmaceuticals (Musli Power X-tra), Ruchi Soya Industries (Sunrich Refined Sunflower Oil), Perfetti Van Melle India (Center Fruit Endless), Coca-Cola India (Coca-Cola Zero), Inbisco India (Joymee Noodles), Vishnu Pouch Packaging (Vimal Pan Masala) and The Annapurna Group (Annapurna Ghee).
The health and personal care brands with misleading or false ads and unsubstantiated claims include Bavishi Fertility Institute (100 per cent guarantee in IVF), FutureValue Products (Dr Back Orthopaedic Mattress), Emami (Kesh King Ayurvedic Medicinal Oil), Dabur India (Dabur Vatika Enriched Coconut Oil), Mosons Extractions (Indulekha Bringha Oil), Uttam Dawakhana, Patanjali Ayurved (Youvan Gold Plus), Dr Reddy's Laboratories (Hairootz), Rajasthan Aushdhalaya (Dr Relaxi Oil & Capsule), Shree Baidyanath Ayurved Bhawan (Rheumartho Gold Plus Capsules), and Rajnish Hot Deals (Play Win capsule).
The e-commerce brands that violated ASCI's code of advertising were PortaMart (Flip cover for Xolo Black 1x), Xeroin Retail (Jabong.com - offer of extra 30 per cent off), Amazon.com, Inc. (AdraxxCrosman Roof Prism Binoculars), Ibibo Group (redBus.in), HolidayIQ.in (Sweepstakes offer) and Facebook India (Facebook Free Basics).
Besides the ones mentioned above, other brands that were pulled up for objectionable ads include Karrm Infrastructure (Karrm Infra), Balaji Telefilms (Kya Kool Hai Hum), Viacom18 Media (Bigg Boss 9), The Times of India (CP Quiz), Clat Possible - Founding Team, Shoppers Stop, Vodafone India (Superfast Vodafone Network), Pritish Nandy Communications (Mastizaade Movie Trailer), and Bharti Airtel (Airtel Broadband).
The Advertising Standards Council of India, which is a self-regulatory organisation for the advertising industry, was established in 1985. The ASCI is recognised under 'The Cable Television Network Rules, 1994', which states that "No advertisement which violates the code for self-regulation in advertising, as adopted by the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI), Mumbai, for public exhibition in India, from time to time, shall be carried in the cable service". The ASCI is the 'executive arm' of the Department of Consumer Affairs, handling all complaints pertaining to misleading advertisements.
The role and function of the ASCI and its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) is to deal with complaints received from consumers and Industry, against advertisements which are considered as 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.