ASCI pulls up misleading ads for Aug & Sep 2019

29 Nov,2019

By A Correspondent

 

The Advertising Standards Council of India has reported that during the months of August and September 2019, it investigated complaints against 564 advertisements, of which 179 advertisements were promptly withdrawn by the advertisers on receipt of communication from ASCI. The independent Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI evaluated 385 advertisements, of which complaints against 344 advertisements were upheld. Of these 344 advertisements, 259 belonged to the education sector, 50 belonged to the healthcare sector,  eight to personal care,  eight to the food & beverages sector, and 19 were from the ‘others’ category.

 

There were several prominent brands in the Food and Beverage sector making comparative claims regarding the product composition, taste preferences, health benefits or market leadership.  Many of the claims were not adequately substantiated. The CCC also considered the comparisons to be unfairly denigrating the entire category in which the advertiser brands were competing in. A leading dairy brand presented their butter cookies to be superior due to presence of 25 per cent butter and 0 per cent vegetable oil.  However they made a sweeping statement that “other” butter cookies contain only 0.3 to 3 per cent butter and 20 to 22 per cent vegetable oil without presenting any verifiable evidence. Another snack brand, endorsed by a prominent cricket celebrity claimed that up to 60 per cent of people said that their baked snack was tastier than other fried snack brands. However, this claim was not conclusively proven. The same celebrity also endorsed a leadership claim for a food supplement brand ‘No. 1 Supplement for Men’. As this ranking was achieved in the UK and not in India, the claim was considered to be misleading.

 

Rohit Gupta

Said Rohit Gupta, Chairman, ASCI: “Recently as per media reports, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) issued a statement that that the advertisers must desist from making misleading claims and that the food companies could be liable to pay a fine of up to INR 10 lakhs. Consequences of misleading advertising are grave, not only for the public but also for advertisers as it damages their reputation and breaks consumers’ trust in their products. ASCI encourages advertisers to follow the ASCI Code for self-regulation in advertising and Guidelines for Food and Beverages sector in particular so that all stakeholder interests are taken care of.”

 

EDUCATION: – 259 advertisements complained against

Direct Complaints (8 advertisements)

Suo Motu Surveillance by ASCI (251 advertisements)

 

HEALTHCARE: – 50 advertisements complained against

Direct Complaints (17 advertisements)

Suo Motu Surveillance by ASCI (33 advertisements)

 

PERSONAL CARE: – Eight advertisement complained against

Direct Complaints (2 advertisements)

Suo Motu Surveillance by ASCI (6 advertisements)

 

FOOD AND BEVERAGES: – Eight advertisements complained against

 

Direct Complaints (6 advertisements)

Suo Motu Surveillance by ASCI 2 advertisements)

 

OTHERS: – 19 advertisements complained against

 

Direct Complaints (10 advertisements)

Suo Motu Surveillance by ASCI (nine advertisements)

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