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ASCI upholds complaints against six ads in telecom, FMCG and healthcare sectors

Gillette India, Bharti Telemedia and Piramal Healthcare feature among the companies whose ads were found objectionable.

The Advertising Standards Council of India's (ASCI's) Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) has found six advertisements in the telecom, fast moving consumer goods and healthcare sectors objectionable for the month of October 2010 and has upheld the complaints against the same.

Bharti Telemedia, Gillette India, Piramal Healthcare, Nuzen Herbal and Spaceage Multiproducts came under the ASCI scanner.

ASCI upholds complaints against six ads in telecom, FMCG and healthcare sectors
With regard to Bharti Telemedia, two complaints were received by the regulatory organization, one for an SMS communication and the other for a television commercial.

The SMS ad claimed that Airtel Digital TV Recorder is High Definition capable, which was found to be misleading. On the other hand, Airtel DTH service's TV commercial claimed to offer a free regional pack for lifetime. With the company's DTH licence being valid only up to May 2018, the offer was found to be misleading.

Following the CCC's decision to uphold the complaints against the advertisements, the TVC has been discontinued and the SMS campaign suitably modified.

In the FMCG sector, the CCC upheld complaints against ads by Nuzen Herbal and Gillette India.

The Nuzen Herbal ad claimed hair growth following the use of its product Nuzen Gold Hair Oil, a claim not substantiated with technical data through clinical research.

Gillette India claimed 99 per cent plaque removal for a higher priced Oral B Cross Action Pro-Health toothbrush (priced at Rs 69). In the same ad, the company also announced a lower price of Rs 13 for another brush - Oral B Shiny Clean.

The CCC inferred that juxtaposing of a higher-priced product (with strong efficacy claim) with a lower-priced product in the same ad would mislead the consumers to believe that the cheaper product will not be as effective as the other.

Following the decisions, Nuzen Herbal withdrew the ad, while Gillette India modified the concerned ads.

Among the healthcare brands, Piramal Healthcare's Superactiv Complete and Spaceage Multiproducts' Morning Walker were pulled up.

Piramal Healthcare claimed a money back guarantee within eight days if the nutritional supplement was found to be ineffective. It also claimed that the product provides energy for all day. The CCC concluded that without an independent scientific study, the claims made were not substantiated and hence, misleading.

In the case of Spaceage Multiproducts' Morning Walker, the print ad's claim, 'for healthier body, for a positive mind', were not substantiated adequately. Furthermore, its claim of 'medically endorsed' was not backed by authentic certification from concerned medical institutions or bodies.

For the record, the ASCI is a self-regulatory voluntary organisation of the advertising industry. The role and functioning of the ASCI and the CCC is in dealing with complaints received from consumers and industry against advertisements which are considered 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.

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