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ASCI asks WhiteHat Jr to pull its ads

The ad body processed 15 complaints against 7 WhiteHat Jr ads. Five of these ads were in potential violation of the ASCI code.

WhiteHatJr, the BYJU’s owned kids coding start-up has a hit a roadblock. The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), "a self-regulatory voluntary organization of the advertising industry", has asked it to pull down its ads.

“ASCI has, in total processed 15 complaints against 7 advertisements of White Hat Jr. Five of these advertisements were in potential violation of the ASCI code, and the advertiser agreed to immediately withdraw these advertisements when ASCI intervened,” said Manisha Kapoor, secretary-general, ASCI and added that one of these advertisements was taken up suo motu by ASCI as well.

She explained that for two other advertisements of White Hat Jr that were processed, ASCI noted that they did not violate the ASCI code, and hence, complaints against these advertisements were not upheld. However, ASCI noted that one of these advertisements could be in potential violation of The Emblems and Name (Prevention of Improper use) Act, and therefore directed the complainant to approach the government.

Referring to the criticism the edtech brand had received online, Kapoor remarked, “In recent times some advertisements of the company have come under scrutiny on social media, and ASCI has been tagged. The ASCI team has connected with the advertiser on these ads, and we are given to understand that some of the advertisements referred to on social media are old and have already been withdrawn. The advertiser also has assured ASCI of their cooperation in adhering to the ASCI code going forward.”

Also Read: WhiteHat Jr. ads draw flak from social media users

Last month, people took to social media to complain against and criticise WhiteHat Jr’s ads that not only pushed parents to take up their services using FOMO or ‘Fear of Missing Out’ as a tool but that it was also being shown to people who didn’t have kids of their own in the first place.

In August 2020, BYJU'S acquired WhiteHat Jr. which in early August for $300 million. WhiteHat Jr’s social media also uses faces like Bill Gates, Sundar Pichai and Steve Jobs to push their classes – in a bid to encourage parents to help unlock their children’s potential.