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 July 2016. The ASCI's Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) received complaints against 183 ads; complaints against 134 ads were upheld.
Of these, 44 advertisements were from the healthcare and education categories, followed by 24 ads in the food and beverages category; eight ads were from the personal care category. Fourteen ads were upheld in the others category.
Complaints against brands which were upheld in the healthcare segment for false, misleading, and unsubstantiated claims, and hence, violated the ASCI's code include American Instrument, Japani Instrument, Nurture Healthcare (Ayurex-S Vitality Capsules, Ayurex NDX, Bgainer Capsule), D S Research Centre, CELL Gen Anti- Ageing Centre, and Krishna Hospital.
Education brands pulled up for violation of guidelines for advertising of educational institutions included Guru Nanak Institute of Management, Dhruva College of Management, Biju Patnaik Institute of Information Technology and Management Studies, and Allen Career Institute.
The food and beverage brands that have come under the ASCI scanner for violation of advertising guidelines include Bonn Nutrients (Bonn Nu Health Bread), V M Health Products (BP- Salt), K P Group (Kamla Pasand Pan Masala), Coconut Development Board (Coconut Milk Product), M K Agrotech (Sunpure Sunflower Oil), and Cargill India (Gemini Cooking Oil).
Himalaya Company (Himalaya Facewash), Gillette India (Gillette Vector), Hindustan Unilever (Axe Deodorants) and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare (Sensodyne Toothpaste) were some of the defaulters in the personal care category.
Other brands which were pulled up for objectionable ads due to false and/or misleading claims include Mahindra & Mahindra (Mahindra Supro Maxi Truck and Mahindra Maxximo Plus), Sarovar Hotels (Eat Your Vegetables Day contest), Living Media India (India Today Spice Watch Special), Fena (Fena Washing Powder), Bharti Airtel (Airtel), Tata Teleservices (Tata Docomo), and Policy Bazaar Insurance Web Aggregator (Policybazaar.com - Bike Insurance).
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 Standards 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.