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ASCI releases Q1 complaint report – finds most violations in education and online gaming

A total of 789 complaints were upheld during the January-March 2021 period.

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has just released its Q1 2021 complaints report. The findings show that the highest number of violations were found in education, COVID, and online gaming sectors. A large number of complaints were also processed from the healthcare, and food and beverages categories.

ASCI releases Q1 complaint report – finds most violations in education and online gaming

In healthcare, 250 complaints against ads were processed, and most of them were about fake claims of COVID cures or prevention. There were 47 complaints processed against food and beverage ads, many of them against claims around milk, milk products, bread, green tea, fish oil, as well as edible oils like sunflower.

This quarter also witnessed a number of complaints processed in the automotive and electronics and durables categories. The auto category received 14 complaints, many of them related to two-wheeler as well as e-rickshaw ads. In the category of electronics, durable and construction, ASCI processed 32 complaints against ads across a range of brands, from air-conditioners to paints.

ASCI releases Q1 complaint report – finds most violations in education and online gaming

Complaint numbers for Q4

In the January-March 2021 quarter, ASCI processed a total of 1,064 complaints. Around 200 ads were withdrawn by advertisers immediately on receiving an intimation from ASCI. Of the remaining 862, that required further investigation, the self-regulatory body’s independent consumer complaints council (CCC) upheld complaints against 789 ads.

Of these, 337 belonged to the education sector, 250 to healthcare, 47 to food and beverages, 32 to electronics and durables, 28 to personal care, 14 to automotive, 12 to gaming and mobile applications, and 69 to other categories. Complaints against 73 ads were not upheld as they were found to be adhering to the ASCI code.

“We are pleased to note increased consumer vigilance around gaming after the release of our guidelines. ASCI is working on more initiatives to ensure that advertising remains honest and decent, and that consumers’ confidence in advertising is sustained, said Manisha Kapoor, secretary-general, ASCI.

“We also aim to raise consumer awareness to motivate them to report misleading claims. This would help safeguard their interests and encourage ethical advertising that benefits not just the consumers, but also honest advertisers.”

(Photo by Alexander Kovalev from Pexels)