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ASCI upholds 25 out of 38 complaints in June

The regulatory body received complaints against ads in the education, healthcare, FMCG and food and beverages categories.

In May, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) launched the National Advertising Monitoring Service (NAMS) in collaboration with TAM Media Research. With NAMS, AdEX India, a division of TAM that captures data on advertising categories and volumes in print and television, works with ASCI to monitor various TV channels and newspapers for commercials that violate the ASCI advertising code.

ASCI upholds 25 out of 38 complaints in June
With NAMS, the number of ads coming under the scrutiny of the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) went up significantly in June. Out of 38 ads that were complained against, the CCC upheld objections against 25 in June. Most of the ads that were pulled up belonged to the education, healthcare, FMCG and food and beverages sectors.

Among the 25 ads are ones of brands such as Kwality Walls, Amul Ice Cream, Cadbury, Videocon, Dainik Bhaskar, Parachute Hair Oil, Lovely Professional University and others.

The Cadbury chocolates' television commercial showed a group of students ragging two junior boys. This was found to be in bad taste as it is illegal to show and encourage ragging in any form. The advertisement was in breach of the Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1999. The CCC concluded that the ad contravened Chapter III.4 of the Code and upheld the complaint against it. In light of the complaint received, Cadbury developed a condensed version of the TVC and removed the line "Meri Mummy kehti hai ragging se dosti badhti hai", which is being aired since June.

The complaint against Kwality Walls Selection states that the brand's advertorial mentions Kwality Walls Strawberry and Cheesecake as being an ice cream, when in reality it is a frozen dessert. Stating facts that frozen desserts are made with vegetable oils and fats and do not contain the nutrients found in milk that is used to make ice creams, the advertorial was found to be misleading. The complaint against the ad has hence been upheld as the advertorial was found contravening Chapter I.4 of the Code.

In the case of yet another ice cream brand - Amul Ice Cream, it was found that a leaflet of the brand showed a Kwality Walls cup to depict Frozen Desserts. According to the complainant, the communication is tantamount to generic disparagement of Frozen Dessert as a category in general and Kwality Walls Frozen Dessert, in particular. It was also found that the ad tries to pass off ice creams as complete food that is easy to digest and full of energy. The CCC concluded that the advertisement did not denigrate Kwality Walls and the complaint was not upheld. However, the portrayal of ice cream as a complete food was found to be misleading and hence the complaint against it was upheld.

Parachute Advansed Coconut Hair Oil's print ad claimed that international hair research revealed that users of the product have the world's best hair. The complaint stated that the quality of hair does not depend on only hair oil and more evidence was needed to support the superlative claim. The CCC concluded the claim is misleading and upheld the complaint against the ad.

For an ad of Luminous Battery/Inverter, according to the complainant, the TVC claims that "Luminous Batteries give more backup when compared with other batteries". The advertiser needs to provide proof in substantiation of this claim with comparative and other necessary data. In the absence of supporting scientific proof from the advertiser, the CCC concluded that the claims mentioned in the advertisement and cited in the complaint, were not substantiated. The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code. The complaint was upheld.

Videocon Air Conditioner's print ad claimed its product's Vita Air technology releases Vitamin C in the air that boosts immunity. The ad also claimed that the ionizer in the air conditioner improves room freshness, anti-bacterial filter eliminates bacteria and filters dust particles and a Gold Fin Evaporator prevents formation of bacteria, fungus and bad odour. The claims were not substantiated with technical comparative data, found the CCC. With the ad contravening Chapter I.1 of the Code, the complaint against it was upheld. The CCC noted that the claim was made on the basis of MIS, a source not recognised and not on the basis of Average Issue Readership (AIR) and hence was misleading.

The complaint against Lovely Professional University's TVC was upheld after its claim was found not substantiated adequately. The TVC claimed the university as being 'India's largest university' in terms of on-campus students without providing any comparative data of other leading universities. The ad was noted to contravene Clause 4 (b) of the ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions and Programs.

Among other brands against which complaints were received and eventually upheld by the CCC included Nalanda Institute of Advanced Studies, Career Launcher, T.I.M.E. and NIPS School of Hotel Management. Leonardo Olive Pomace Oil, Lotus Mustard Oil, Dr. Tea, Om Healthcare Centre's Good Health, Perma Healthcare's Seatone, Natural Medicine, Sesa Hair Oil, Slim Life, Kirloskar Proprietary, Leads Bariatrics and Pure Roots Gold Cream Bleach.

Complaints were also received against ads of Airtel, Fiat Punto Sport, Uninor, Fiama Di Wills, Axe, Mahindra Duro, Sanofi Seacod, Ayur Sunscreen Lotion, Indica Hair Colour, Nasivision, Smart Prep Education's Unique Training System and Kamal Toordal. However, as these advertisements were found not to have contravened ASCI's codes or guidelines, the complaints were not upheld.

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