afaqs!

Airtel responds to ASCI; says 4G ads not misleading

By Saumya Tewari , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising
Published : October 06, 2015
The telecom provider states that its claims are based on 'rigorous test conditions'.

Airtel's latest campaign 'The Airtel Challenge', which positions Airtel 4G as the fastest network, created a flutter in the market. It also attracted the ire of advertising watchdog Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) because of a complaint received against the claims made by the telecom company.

The campaign, which was released along with the nationwide roll-out of 4G services on August 6, features a young girl (Sasha Chettri) participating in a battle with another on various mobile data related tasks such as web searches and downloads. She is significantly quicker than the other because she uses the Airtel 4G network, as is discovered later in the ad. The video ends with a challenge for the viewers, proposing that if they find a swifter network, their mobile bills will be paid for, life-long.

On receiving a complaint on the claim made by Airtel, ASCI sprung into action asking the company to withdraw the ad on the grounds of it being 'misleading'.

Airtel has reached out to ASCI and justified its claims stating that they are based on 'rigorous test conditions'.

A spokesperson from Airtel says, "As the only commercial provider of this world-class technology in India, our advertising campaign revolves around the 4G promise of fastest internet speeds and features a set of claims that are based on rigorous test conditions."

The spokesperson further added that Airtel is engaging with ASCI to provide the technical data in support of the advertising claims and is following the prescribed process to schedule a review of the said issue.

"We are confident of getting a favourable response from them," the spokesperson stated.

Meanwhile, ASCI refused to comment on the issue stating that the complaint process is underway.

For the record, Airtel's 4G service is available in 14 circles across 296 towns. The company has also tied up with online marketplace Flipkart to provide an Airtel 4G SIM with a 4G phone purchase and with mobile giant Samsung.

Vodafone, another major player in the telecom sector, has halved the rates for its 3G service, post Airtel's 4G announcement. The brand has also released a commercial to announce the same.

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