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A deep dive into ASCI's biggest guidelines violators

Six categories, which include gaming and virtual digital currencies, and how they fared under ASCI's scanner.

48% of the ads that ASCI processed in FY 22 were published digitally, and 29% of the complaints that were filed concerned influencers, a stark change from the old times when TV ads had the most complaints registered against them.

ASCI’s annual report, released in June 2022, mentioned personal care, food and beverage, education, gaming, virtual digital assets (VDA), and health care categories as the biggest violators.

Here is a closer look at each of these six categories.

Personal Care

ASCI looked into 531 ads from the personal care category in FY21-22, a 261% increase from last year. Of all the 531 ad complaints, 91% required modification, 4% were nullified, and 5% were dismissed.

A deep dive into ASCI's biggest guidelines violators

Four of the ads featuring celebrities were found to be misleading and 371 ads had influencer disclosure violations.

Split of the mediums:

Digital - 88%

TV - 6%

Print - 4%

Others - 2%

Most of the violative claims were pertaining to product performance. Owing to the ongoing pandemic ASCI saw several protection and prevention claims particularly claiming protection from germs like viruses and bacteria.

Besides these there were comparative claims, ingredient performance led claims, natural and organic product claims, leadership claims, consumer trust and recommendation by experts claims.

Notable brands whose ads came under ASCI’s scanner include Mamaearth, Nykaa, Lux Soap, Lifebuoy, MyGlamm, Veet India, Durex, Sebamed India, and Dabur Red Paste.

Food and Beverage

373 ads from this category were looked into by ASCI in FY 22, a 31% increase from last year. 84% of the 373 ads needed modification, 14% of the complaints were dismissed, and 2% were nullified.

A deep dive into ASCI's biggest guidelines violators

10 ads featuring celebrities were found to be misleading and 131 ads had influencer disclosure violations.

Split of the mediums:

Digital - 73%

Print-16%

TV-7%

Others-4%

Almost every product sub-category under F&B had immunity-boosting claims along with ingredient benefit and product performance claims. Comparative claims, leadership claims, and health and disease risk reduction claims were also common.

Like many other categories, there was an increase in claims pertaining to protection from and prevention of various diseases caused by viruses and bacteria. Other claims included awards & rankings, natural source/organic foods, consumer trust and quality claims.

Notable brands whose ads came under ASCI’s scanner include Amul Milk, Horlicks, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Lay’s Maxx, and Cadbury Dairy Milk.

Education

ASCI had to screen 1,728 ads from this category in FY 22, a 23% increase from last year. 99% of the ads needed modifications and 1% saw dismissal.

A deep dive into ASCI's biggest guidelines violators

6% of the total ads belonged to the ed-tech category, nine ads which featured celebrities were found to be misleading, and 12 ads suffered influencer disclosure violations.

Most of the violative claims under the education sector were pertaining to Leadership, Awards and Rankings and Job Guarantee claims. Comparative superlative claims like highest success, lowest fees etc. and performance outcome claims like best results, success assured were also common. In addition to these, there were a significant number of Money Back Guarantee claims usually clubbed with result-oriented/outcome-related claims.

Some of the notable brands whose ads came under the ASCI scanner include Unacademy, Byju’s, Vedantu, Law Prep Tutorial, and upGrad.

Gaming

This category had ASCI look into 383 ads, a 472% increase from last year. A point to note here is the ASCI’s Gaming Guideline came into effect on 15 December 2020.

A deep dive into ASCI's biggest guidelines violators

94% of the ads looked into required modification, 4% of the complaints were not valid, and 3% were dismissed.

Split of the mediums:

Digital - 99%

Print-1%

TV-1%

Others-0%

Eight ads featuring celebrities were found to be misleading and 22 ads had influencer disclosure violations.

Most violative claims in the Gaming sector were about leadership, guaranteed winnings, prize money assurance and safety, security and privacy claims. Other claims like consumer trust - trusted by 3 billion users etc., and comparative claims like win better, Xtimes more winnings were also seen.

Notable brands whose ads ASCI screen include Dream11, My11 Circle, Winzo, MPL, and Paytm First Games.

VDA

ASCI looked into 394 ads from this category in FY 22. There is no comparison with the previous year(s) because of a lack of prominent advertising. Of these ads, 95% needed modification, 4% were termed not valid, and 1% were dismissed.

A deep dive into ASCI's biggest guidelines violators

385 of the 394 ads had influencer disclosure violations.

Split of the mediums:

Digital - 98%

Print-1%

TV-1%

Others-0%

Most advertisements looked into in this sector were influencer disclosure cases where influencers were talking about how to navigate the VDA platforms, or sharing information about the category and how the platform is easy to operate.

From some of the ads that made misleading claims, leadership and consumer trust claims were most common. Guaranteed earnings, and performance comparisons with other modes of investments like Gold and stock investment followed. The other commonly found claims revolved around promoting the category through referral program claims like refer a friend and win.

Some of the notable brands whose ads came under the ASCI scanner include CoinDCX, WazirX, and CoinDCX.

Healthcare

775 ads came under the scanner, a 20% decrease from the previous year because the previous year saw a surge in Covid cure/protection claims that settled as the pandemic progressed. 98% of the ads needed modification, 1.7% of the complaints were dismissed, and 0.3% were termed not valid.

A deep dive into ASCI's biggest guidelines violators

Five ads featuring celebrities were found to be misleading and 15 ads had influencer disclosure violations.

Split of the mediums:

Print- 75%

Digital - 21%

TV-3%

Others-1%

Most violative claims in the Healthcare category revolved around leadership, awards & rankings and comparative claims specifically under Clinics & Hospitals. Treatment assurance claims were also fairly common. For Drugs and Medicinal products claims of cure -prevention - protection was the most common.

Health condition reversal and product performance claims were among the other violative claims noted. There has been a rise in the occurrence of natural ingredient/procedure-led treatment/cure claims.

Notable brands which came under the ASCI scanner include Shilajit Ultra Gold Capsule, Ignite Capsules, and Apollo Sugar Clinic.

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