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Advertising

ASCI processes complaints against 389 ads, of which 355 were regarding misleading claims

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In October and November 2018, Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) investigated complaints against 389 advertisements of which the advertisers ensured corrective action for 112 advertisements as soon as they received the complaints from ASCI. ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 232 advertisements from a total of 277 advertisements evaluated by them. Of these 232 advertisements, 95 belonged to the education sector, 53 to the healthcare sector, 36 to the food & beverages sector, 23 to personal care, and 20 were from the ‘others’ category. Five advertisementsviolated BARC Guidelines.

Amongst various advertisements that were examined, the CCC observed that, a renowned cricketer endorsing a bike brand shown driving rashly and violating traffic rules, manifesting a disregard for safety. In addition to this, a famous celebrity was found to endorse a shampoo claiming to keep hair non-stop fresh for up to 72 hours. In another advertisement a celebrity was endorsing a well-known brand of glasses promising that the product blocks harmful blue rays from digital media unlike other glasses.

A significant number of complaints looked into by the CCC pertained to food & beverage sector. The most common reason for upholding complaints were unsubstantiated and exaggerated claims that exploit consumers’ lack of knowledge. It was also observed that the advertisements had unsubstantiated leadership claims, improper use of FSSAI logo in contravention of the FSSAI advisory, organic claims, disparagement of healthy eating habits as well as surrogate advertisements.

D. Shivkumar, Chairman, ASCI, says, “ASCI and FSSAI recently concluded their second year of collaboration via an MOU. FSSAI had given ASCI a mandate for comprehensive Suo Moto surveillance of potentially misleading advertisements in the F&B sector. Over 200 misleading advertisements have been looked into by the CCC and their compliance status was updated to FSSAI. This co-regulation model has been quite effective in ensuring compliance and was recently also referred in a Rajya Sabha question.”

Direct Complaints

The following advertisements were in violation of ASCI’s 'Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising'. The advertisers did not provide any evidence to show that the celebrities did due diligence prior to lending their name for the endorsements, to ensure that all description, claims and comparisons made in the advertisement are capable of substantiation:

Hero MotoCorp (Hero Xtreme 200r), L’Oreal India (L'Oreal Extraordinary Clay Shampoo), Buy Happy Marketing LLP (VIP Natural Hair Colour Shampoo) and L'Oreal India (Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water).

Food and beverage

ITC Limited (Sunfeast Yippee Powerup Masala Noodles) and Pernod Ricard India (Blenders Pride Music Cds).

Personal Care

The following advertisements were considered to be misleading and also likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. Procter & Gamble Hygiene & Health Care Limited (Head & Shoulders Anti-Dandruff Shampoo) and GlaxoSmithKline Asia (Sensodyne Toothpaste).

Healthcare

Netmeds Marketplace and Ayushakti Ayurved (Diabetox).

Education

FIITJEE and Landmark Immigration.

BARC Guidelines

The following five advertisements violated the BARC Guidelines. (BARC Guidelines require that for any leadership claim, the period of comparison must cover at least four consecutive weeks, and at least four consecutive clock hours of data. The leadership claim in all five cases below were based on two consecutive hours instead of four, and hence violated the BARC Guidelines)

1. ARG Outlier Media (Republic TV): In the advertisement mailer dated 24th August, Republic TV has made leadership claim under Single Event Reporting.

2. ARG Outlier Media (Republic TV): In the advertisement mailer dated 31st August, Republic TV has made leadership claim under Single Event Reporting.

3. ARG Outlier Media (Republic TV): In the advertisement mailer dated 6th September, Republic TV has made leadership claim under Single Event Reporting.

4. ARG Outlier Media (Republic TV): In the advertisement mailer dated 14th September, "Republic TV has made leadership claim under Single Event Reporting.

5. ARG Outlier Media (Republic TV): In the advertisement mailer dated 20th September, Republic TV has made leadership claim under Single Event Reporting.

Others

Hindustan Unilever (Vim Anti Smell Bar), LG Washing Machine and Godrej Consumer Products (GoodKnight Patches).

SUO MOTO Surveillance by ASCI

The following advertisements were in violation of ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising. The advertisers did not provide any evidence to show that the celebrities did due diligence prior to lending their name for the endorsements, to ensure that all claims, description and comparisons made in the advertisements are capable of substantiation, nor did the advertiser submit any testimonials or any evidence of the consent of the celebrity before endorsement: Lenskart.com (Lenskart Blu Smartphone Lenses) and Rasna International (Native Hatt Aampanna).

Education

The CCC found claims in the advertisements by following 19 advertisers that were not substantiated and thus, in violation of ASCI Guidelines for Advertising for Educational Institutions. Swami Vivekanand Center, Excellence Classes, and LNCT University.

Healthcare

Dabur India (Dabur Honitus Syrups), Dr. Batras Positive Health Clinic (Geno Homeopathy) and Dr. Batra’s Positive Health Clinic.

Food and Beverage

Rex (U&A) Remedies – Food product (Heartorex Syrup) and Sri Anagha Refineries (Sun Premium Refined Sunflower Oil).

Personal Care

Hindustan Unilever (Ponds Oil Control Face Wash).