ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council upholds complaints against 17 out of 25 ads

22 Dec,2011

By A Correspondent


During July and August 2011, the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI upheld complaints made against 17 advertisements from various sectors like Education, Health, FMCG and Restricted products. During the same timeframe, the CCC did not uphold complaints against 8 such advertisements.


In a complaint received against the advertisement of Maruti Suzuki – Estilo Magic, the advertisement mentions the mileage of i10 (1.1) Era as “16 kmpl”, which is incorrect.  i10 (1.1) Era ARIA certified mileage is 19.8 kmpl. The CCC concluded that the data stated in the advertisement about the mileage of the competitor did not tally with the ARIA Certification and is false.


There was a complaint relating to the advertisement of “Bata India – Think Weinbrenner, Think Outdoors.” As per the complaint, Bata had carried out a print campaign for Weinbrenner, wherein the copy read, “SMS Bata <space> <your e-mail id> to 58888 to win exclusive gifts”. Acting on the line, the complainant sent SMSes twice, but was never offered or sent any gifts. The CCC concluded that the statement, “SMS BATA…to win exclusive gifts”, was misleading as the advertisement did not state clearly all material conditions to enable the consumer to obtain a true and fair view of his prospects in such activities.


A complaint was received against advertising communication of Hindustan Unilever – Pureit Water Purifier. As per the complaint, the commercials make a claim of “Pureit 1 Crore safety challenge”.  The CCC considered the technical proof provided by the advertiser and the complainant and concluded that whilst Pureit “meets USA’s EPA stringent germ-kill criteria”, it is not the only one to do so.  The claim, “It’s been 2 years and till date no purifier in India has been able to meet Pureit’s Safety challenge”, is misleading as this challenge was only against products launched prior to December 2009. Thus, the communication created a false impression that Pureit is the best water purifier.  This complaint was also upheld.


In the education sector, there was a whole set of advertisement that received complaints. For T.I.M.E. – CAT’ 11/12, the claim “Largest student base: 1,30,000+ students trained for CAT’09 & CAT’10” was  rejected as the claim was not validated  by any third party nor the advertiser  had compared any data of other service providers in the same category. Also, the claim, “Best faculty team in Delhi – NCR”, was not supported by any comparative data. Another claim, “Best Results: 50%+ of students in the IIMs are from T.I.M.E.”, was neither validated nor supported with any independent data, and the claim was based on 2009 and 2010 data as mentioned in the advertisement. The CCC concluded that pending the validation of the data by independent auditors, the claims are misleading and hence upheld the complaint.


Career  Launcher (I)  Ltd in one advertisement mentioned that,”4300+ IIM calls in CAT”10″, “CL scores: 4/8 100 % in CAT’10, FMS’10 & 11 Toppers, JMET’10 Topper”. These claims were not backed and substantiated with data/ evidence.  The CCC concluded that pending the validation of the data by independent auditors, the claims mentioned in the advertisement and cited in the complaint are misleading. The complaint was upheld


The advertisement of Team Satyam claimed that “75+ Students and counting, in National Law Schools”, “95% of call getters from Lucknow are Clat Possible students”,  “5/5 NLU-Delhi call getters from Lucknow are Clat Possible students”, “3 NLSIU, 5 NALSAR, 7 NUJS, 8NLU-D  Students to National Law Schools”,  “40+ Students to National Law Schools”. The CCC concluded that pending the validation of the data by independent auditors, the claims mentioned in the advertisement and cited in the complaint, are misleading.  The advertisement contravened Chapter I.4 of the Code.  The complaint was UPHELD.

A TVC of Greenply Industries Ltd. Greenlam Laminates showed “an old man going through the Catholic sacrament of baptism, and thereafter his funeral which shows a coffin made with Greenlam Laminates. The TVC is extremely offensive and mocks the Roman Catholic faith, by unnecessarily using sacraments to promote its product.  The CCC concluded that the TVC appeared to trivialize conversion and thus is likely to hurt religious sentiments. This complaint was upheld.


Hindustan Unilever Ltd’s Dove Damage Therapy TVC claimed that Dove is the most recommended shampoo by Indian women”, is qualified by a super stating “Based on a study conducted amongst 400 women”.  It was stated that a base size of 400 is far too small to be used to support this claim and it also did not clarify the parameters for which the Dove shampoo is recommended. Also, the supers in the said advertisement are blurred and illegible. The print advertisement, TVC, and the hoardings contravened Chapter I.4 of the Code and the claims are misleading, hence the complaint was upheld.


Procter & Gamble Home Products  Ltd’s -  New  Ariel  Oxyblu – Deep Clean Technology ad showed the removal of three difficult stains, namely ink, oil and tea by use of Ariel Oxyblu, whereas the claim support data mentioned in the super is for ink stains alone. The super reads “Creative visualization.  Based on technical test by independent laboratory (Prema Labs, 2011) tested on ink stain in three different layers of polyster fabric v/s ordinary powder.  It is clear from the same that the claims about removal of oil and tea stains are completely unsubstantiated. The CCC concluded that the claim read in conjunction with the visual depiction is misleading by implication.


Pernod Ricard India Pvt Ltd, in its  TVC of Royal  Stag  – Mega  Cricket showed the visuals of the cricketer Harbhajan Singh on his first day in a ball bearing factory. He is shown saying, “Have I made it large?” As per the complaint, the TVC begins with the repeated use of the word “large”, which is normally referred to as a measure of liquor and by associating it with Royal Stag, which is a liquor brand, the TVC is an overt insinuation aimed at conjuring up the image of a liquor brand and therefore an indirect and surrogate advertisement for liquor. Despite having approvals from CBFC for using the slogan, the CCC concluded that the TVC uses the brand name and logo of a liquor product. The advertisement contravened Chapter III.6 (c) (d) of the ASCI Code. Also, as the TVC violated the Rule 7(2) (viii) (A) of The Cable Television Network Rules 1994, the TVC is in breach of the law and contravened Chapter III.4 of the ASCI Code.  The complaint was upheld.


As per McDowell’s No.1 Platinum Soda advertisement which begins with the visuals of a Sikh boy resembling cricketer Harbhajan Singh shown sitting on a large ball and saying, “Have I made it large”.  Then they show the arrival of his father and upbraiding him for making a large ball instead of ball bearings. This is followed by cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s dialogue, which goes on to say, “Zindagi mein kuchh karna hai to large chhodo. Kuchh alag karo, yaar. McDowell’s No.1 Platinum Soda. No.1 Spirit of Leadership”.  The TVC is a clever ploy of capitalizing on the image of a liquor brand sought to be created in the TVC of “Royal Stag – Mega Cricket”, and then extrapolating it with another liquor brand “McDowell”.   The use of the word “Spirit” in its tag line further enhances the image of the liquor brand and therefore the TVC is an indirect and surrogate advertisement for liquor. The complaint was upheld.


One of the Ford Figo advertisements stated that the “Ford Figo leaves its competition far behind”, and has made comparison of Figo Advantage with Hyundai i10 in terms of space and maintenance. The facts used in the advertisement were based on Ford’s internal Benchmarking study, and had no independent support. The advertisement was deemed as misleading the consumers by the CCC which concluded that the claims made in the advertisement were not substantiated on the basis of an independent survey.


General Motors India Pvt. Ltd.’s TVC of Chevrolet Beat Diesel adopted the tagline of “India’s most fuel efficient car”, and have, with a view to mislead the consumers, tried to justify the same by relying upon a stray comment in an article published in ‘Autocar India’ of August 2011 issue, whereby the magazine by its own non-standard method tried to give a general sense to consumers of city driving fuel efficiency of the ‘Beat Diesel’.  The Beat Diesel advertisement uses the tagline which is same as that used by “Indica eV2” in their advertisement of being “India’s most fuel efficient car”.  This fuel efficiency claim is backed by ARAI who have certified ‘Indica eV2″. Apart from plagiarism, the advertisement is disparaging the ‘Indica eV2’. The CCC concluded that the claim was not backed by the data of ARAI. This part of the complaint was upheld.


Titan’s Fast Track Watches advertisement showed a young woman taking off her innerwear (bra) from underneath her T-shirt and holding it out as if to discard it.  The advertisement is promoting a new offer of 20% off on watches. The advertisement is offensive to women, damaging young minds, and totally unrelated to the subject of the advertisement.   The CCC concluded that the depiction of the young woman is likely, in the light of generally prevailing standards of decency and propriety, to cause grave or widespread offence and hence the complaint was upheld.


During these two months, the CCC also received complaints against Samsung ACs, Royal Hygiene Care Pvt Ltd’s She Comfort, Hindustan Unilever’s Pureit Marvella eWater Purifier, IMS  Learning  Resources  Pvt  Ltd, Hardcastle Restaurant’s McDonald’s, L’Oreal India’s Garneir Fructis, Hindustan Unilver’s Clinic All Clear and Tata Indicom amongst others as these advertisements did not contravene ASCI’s codes or guidelines.



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