ASCI uphelds complaints against erring ads

26 Nov,2015

By A Correspondent


In August 2015, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 87 out of 117 advertisements. Out of 117 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 37 belonged to the Personal and Healthcare category, followed by 41 advertisements in the Education category and 9 advertisements from other categories.


In the Health & Personal Care category, the CCC found the following claims in health and personal care product or service advertisements of 37 advertisers to be either misleading or false or not adequately / scientifically substantiated and hence violating ASCI’s Code. Some of the health care products or services advertisements also contravened provisions of the Drug & Magic Remedies Act and Chapter 1.1 and III.4 of the ASCI Code. Some complaints that were upheld include:


1. LG Electronics India Pvt. Ltd.  (LG Water Purifiers): The advertisement of LG Water Purifiers claims, “India’s only true water purifier” which was not adequately substantiated.


2. Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (Pureit Ultima): The TVC of Pureit Ultima claims, “Pureit Ultima RO+UV. Sirf is mein hai Purity Indicator jo saaf saaf dikhata hai ki paani kitna pure hai”, which was false and misleading. Furthermore, the Print advertisement and Website claims, “Pureit Ultima with Purity Indicator. Purity you can see!” was misleading by implication.


3. L’Oreal India Private Limited (L’Oreal Fall Repair):  The claims in the advertisement, “Its   triple action arginine nourishes hair from its roots, it reduces breakage, hair grow stronger” and “Save up to 2000 hair strands”, were inadequately substantiated and were misleading by ambiguity.


4. Lotus Herbals Limited (Lotus Herbals Youth RX): The claims in the advertisement, “A firmer and younger skin in just seven days” and “In four weeks 96 percent of users have agreed that effects of ageing are almost gone”, were inadequately substantiated.


5. VLCC Ltd Healthcare: The claims in the advertisement, “Listen to your DNA for weightloss. Presenting for the first time VLCC DNA Slim a scientific weight loss solution based on your DNA”, “Running 4KM daily helped your colleague Lose weight. But may only make you lose your cool” and “Lose four kilograms or get your money back”, were considered to be misleading by exaggeration and implication.


6. Shree Baidyanath Ayurved Bhawan Pvt Ltd (Baidyanath Medohar Guggulu): The diagrammatic representations of before and after images shown in the advertisement and on the product pack were found to be misleading by exaggeration.


7. Nityanand Herbals (Dia Nitya): The claims in the advertisement, “Miracle in the world Dia Nitya – For Diabetes – Instant relief – Made from traditional natural herbs – Helps in reactivating the beta cells – Helps in high consumption of glucose by cells – Works as insulin – No Side effects”,  “Our aim to make the world diabetes free”,  were not substantiated. Also, specific to the claims implying cure for Diabetes, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.


8. Mardana Josh Range of Products: The advertisement’s claims, “Mardana Josh Herbal Majun & Capsule – Increases masculine energy, provides stoppage, increases stimulation and potential, stops premature ejaculation, successful in curing physical weakness”, were not substantiated.  Also, the advertisement claims read in conjunction with the advertisement visual implies that the product is meant for enhancement of sexual pleasure, which is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.


9. Weitrex Forte Capsule & Drops: The claims in the advertisement, “Weitrex Forte Capsule & Drops – Reduce Obesity”, “No Dieting” and “No Side Effects with pure ayurvedic treatment”, were not substantiated.


10. Claris Lifesciences limited: The claim in the advertisement, “Industry best in Healthcare” is false as it is ranked #2. The advertisement does not have a disclaimer qualifying the source and date of research for the claim made in the advertisement.


11. Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (Fair & Lovely Men’s Fairness): The visual of “a model in the jeep without wearing seat belt” as depicted in the TVC of Fair and Lovely Men’s Fairness shows an unsafe practice.


12. Johnson & Johnson Ltd (Aveeno Active Naturals): The claims mentioned on the pack and as cited in the complaint, state “Aveeno Active Naturals are ingredients derived from nature” for the declared active ingredient on the pack “Dimethicone” which is not considered to be natural was false and not substantiated.


In the education category, the CCC found that claims in the advertisements by 41 advertisers were not substantiated and, thus, violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions. Few complaints that were upheld include:

1. Personaliteez: The advertisement’s claim, “Making 2 lakhs per weekend”, was not substantiated.

2. Peoples Empowerment Group – ISB&M School of Technology: The claims in the advertisement, “100% Placement” and “ISB&M School of Technology Ranked 8th in Emerging Engineering Institutes in India”, were not substantiated.


3. NIPS  School of Hotel Management: The claims in the advertisement,  “World Record Holder”,  “Ranked No. 1 Eastern India the Pioneer Newpaper 2014”,  “Best Placement Award- By South Asian Academy, New Delhi, 2012”,  “Ranked No. 2 Among India’s Private Hotel Management Institute – The Pioneer Newspaper – 2013”,  “Holder of Limca, Asia & India Books Of Records”,  were not adequately substantiated with evidence.


4. The Mentor’s Academy: The claims in the advertisement stating, “Get a reputed Government job. Get Bank, Railway, Police etc. in just one day exam”, and “100% Money Back Guarantee”, were not substantiated.


5. CL Educate Ltd (Career Launcher): The claims in the advertisement stating, “CAT Test Series – The No.1 CAT Test Series Program”, “Most recommended test series”, “Rated the best by students” and “True percentile predictor”, were not substantiated adequately.


6. SCMS School of Engineering & Technology: The claim, “Kerala’s No. 1 Engineering College (SF) in quality and excellence”, was not substantiated with comparative data.. The claim, “SCMS is ranked No. 1 in all ranking surveys conducted by RECCA-NIT”, was not substantiated with supporting data and also the claim is misleading by omission of what the ranking was specific to.


7. Invertis University: The advertisement claims, “National Education Award 2014 for Outstanding B-School & Engg. Univ. – ABP”, “4 Star Ranking – The Pioneer”, “Bharat Shiksh Ratan – Velidicted by GAF, Delhi” and “Best Emerging University Of North India – Indian Achievers Podium”, were not adequately substantiated and were misleading by omission of disclaimers.


8. Career Institute for Commerce & Accounting: The claim in the Advertisement, “AIR-26, 30, 36, 37, 41, 42” as a declaration is considered to be fake and not substantiated with supporting data.


Other ads that were upheld include:

1. HSIL Limited (Hindware Ensemble Kitchen): The claim in the advertisement, “Air Flow–1200 m3/hr”, was not substantiated with supporting technical data.


2. Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Airtel Broadband): The claim offer of “Airtel Broadband – 60 GB @ Rs.1099 with unlimited calls”, was not substantiated with evidence of the customers who have availed this scheme.


3. Amazon Kindle: The advertisement claiming price off of Rs 1000/- from Rs. 5999 to Rs 4999 in large prominent font shown for an image of the product costing Rs.8999/-  is misleading by implication regardless of the disclaimer (in fine print), “Device shown in Image is Rs.8999/-”.


4. Carlsberg India Limited (Tuborg Zero): The advertisement was a surrogate advertisement for a promotion of a liquor product – Tuborg Zero.  The advertiser did not provide the annual market sales data of the product/service advertised, thus the advertisement contravened Chapter III.6 (a) (b) of the ASCI Code and the Guidelines for Brand Extension product or service.


5. 3M India Limited (3M Car Care): The advertisement visual showing a car splashing water filled on the road, encourages people to indulge in dangerous practices without justifiable reason.


6. John Distilleries Pvt Ltd (Original Choice): The advertisement shows a bar situation with coloured liquid in bottles/glasses which appears to be a direct promotion of liquor product – Original Choice.  The advertisement is misleading by implication and contravened Chapters I.4 and  III.6(b) of the Code (“Whether there exists in the advertisement under complaint any direct or indirect clues or cues which could suggest to consumers that it is a direct or indirect advertisement for the product whose advertising is restricted or prohibited by this Code.”).  Also, the advertisement did not meet the requirements as per ASCI’s Guidelines for Qualification of Brand Extension Products and thereby contravened Chapter III.6 (a) of the ASCI Code.


7. Manappuram Finance Limited: In absence of a disclaimer to indicate that the earlier scheme of 5% reduction in interest rate has been extended to other branches, the advertisement is misleading by omission.

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