The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a self-regulatory body that propagates responsible advertising, has released a report of the complaints it received and upheld in the month of February 2016. The ASCI's Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) received complaints against 133 ads; complaints against 80 ads were upheld.
Of these, 48 ads belonged to the education segment while 13 belonged to the health and personal care segment; five ads were from the food and beverages segment, and five from other product categories.
Brands that were pulled up for their ads within the education segment for unsubstantiated claims include Sojatia Competition Classes, Erudite (CAT Coaching), IMS Learning Resources (CAT exam series), VistaMind Education (Best Trainers for CAT, Bank PO), G L Bajaj Institute of Management and Research, Asian Business School, Chandigarh University, LegalEdge Tutorials (LegalEdge - All India Rank 1), IILM Institute of Business and Management, Jaipuria School of Business, ITM Business School, and J K Business School.
The health and personal care brands with misleading or false ads include Emami (Fair & Handsome), Colorbar Cosmetics (Colorbar USA Hydra White Intense Whitening Hydrating Day Lotion), Hindustan Unilever (Dove Hair Fall Rescue Shampoo with Nutrilock Actives, Lifebuoy Clini-Care 10 Soap), Shree Maruti Herbal (Stay-On Oral Liquid), HealthCare Global Enterprises (HCG Hospital-CyberKnife), Johnson & Johnson, and Ban Labs (Sesa Oil).
The food and beverages brands endorsing ads which violated ASCI's guidelines include Nutricia International (Protinex Health Drink), Cargill India (Leonardo Olive Oil), Paras Surti Products (Paras Pan Masala), Pan Parag India (Pan Parag Pan Masala), and ITC (Sunfeast Farmlite Cookies).
Besides the above, other brands pulled up for objectionable ads were Bharti Airtel (Airtel 4G), Vodafone India (Vodafone 4G Network), Hewlett Packard India Sales (Hewlett Packard printer), Jaguar and Company (Jaguar Lighting), MRF (MRF ZSLK Tyres), and Reliance Communications (Reliance Upgrade to 3G).
The Advertising Standards Council of India, 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 that handles 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.