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 May 2016. The ASCI's Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) received complaints against 155 ads; complaints against 109 ads were upheld.
Of these, 41 advertisements belonged to the health and personal care category, followed by 23 ads in the education category, 12 ads in the food and beverages category, and nine ads each in e-commerce and consumer durables category. Fifteen ads were upheld in the others category.
Complaints against brands which were upheld in the health and personal care segment for false, misleading and unsubstantiated claims, and hence, violated the ASCI's code include Hindustan Unilever (Sunsilk Shampoo, Fair & Lovely Ayurvedic Care), Patanjali Ayurved (Divya Swasari Pravahi, Obesity-Free Information Camp - Divya Mukta Vati and Divya Madhunashini Vati , Patanjali Dant Kanti, Patanjali Kesh Kanti Shikakai Hair Cleanser, Patanjali Kesh Kanti Reetha Hair Cleanser, Patanjali Kesh Kanti Natural Hair Cleanser), Godrej Consumer Products (Godrej Expert Rich Crème Hair Color, and Lotus Herbals Limited (Lotus Safe Sun Whitening Plus).
Education brands that had to face the ASCI's music for violation of its Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions were CLAT Forum, Pratham Education (Crash Course Batch 2016), Legal Edge Tutorials, Apeejay Education Society, and Rau's IAS Study Circle.
The food and beverage brands that have come under the ASCI scanner for violation of advertising guidelines include PepsiCo India Holdings (Pepsi), Britannia Industries (Britannia Whole Wheat Bread), Yum! Restaurants (India) (Pizza Hut), GAIA range of health foods and nutritional supplements, and Patanjali Ayurved (Patanjali Kachi Ghani Mustard Oil, Patanjali Jeera Biscuit, Patanjali Kacchi Ghani mustard oil).
Amazon.com Inc. (Amazon Kindle, Friendly Customer Service), Flipkart Internet (Sansui 5 Star Split A/C, Air Wick Automative Spray Rose Liquid Air Freshener), Naaptol Online Shopping (Naaptol.com) - Electric Pest and Insect Control Machine, and Askmebazaar.com were some of the e-commerce brands pulled up by the ASCI on account of unsubstantiated claims.
Consumer durables brands that have come under the ASCI scanner include LG Electronics India (LG air conditioners), Kent RO Systems (Kent-Air Purifier, Kent Vacuum Cleaners), Eureka Forbes (Dr Aquaguard Water Purifier), and Havells India (Standard Fans).
Other brands that were pulled up for objectionable ads due to false and/or misleading claims include Axis Bank (Business Banking Solutions), Xiaomi Logistics (Mi 5 and Redmi Note 3), Hindustan Media Ventures (Hindustan Hindi Newspaper), Dabur India (Odonil Nature-1 Touch Air Sanitizer), Miya Faisal Khan Bangali, and Bharti Airtel (Airtel).
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.