The end of 2018 witnessed ASCI investigating complaints against 415 advertisements of which 125 advertisers ensured corrective actions immediately after they received the complaint from The Advertising Standards Council of India.
Amongst the remaining 290 advertisements ASCI’s Consumer Complaint Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 230 advertisements out of which 106 belonged to the education sector, 61 to the healthcare sector, 32 to the food & beverages sector, Nine to personal care, and 22 were from the ‘others’ category.
ASCI found these advertisements in violation with their Guidelines which included liquor advertisements being endorsed by renowned Indian cricketers, Bollywood celebrity endorsing two face cream product variants of the same brand that made claims about complete removal of skin marks which were misleading and unsubstantiated.
D. Shivakumar, chairman, ASCI was quoted saying, “Being a self-regulatory organisation in advertising, ASCI’s efforts have always been towards protecting the interest of consumers. In order to create mass consumer awareness about objectionable advertisements, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) issued an advisory for a scroller to be carried by all TV broadcasters in support of self-regulation for grievance against objectionable advertisements that refer to ASCI. With more and more TV channels carrying the ASCI WhatsApp number 77100 12345 in a scroller, there has been over a tenfold increase in consumers reaching out to ASCI. The impact of this scroller is evident from this consumer video testimonial.”
Some of the major brands that were found in violation of the ASCI guidelines included:
- Dabur India Ltd (Dabur Amla Hair Oil) : Endorsed by the Bollywood beauty Kareena Kapoor Khan the advertisement claims “Asli Amla, Dabur Amla” was considered to be misleading by implication. To add the advertisement make a reference to a green bottled normal gooseberry oil and claimed two times superiority in its comparison. Also, the use of phrases like “Sasta Amla” and “Mann ki shakti” in the advertisement was misleading and in violation of the ASCI guidelines for celebrities in Advertising.
2. Gujarat Co-Operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (Amul Milk): The household known f&b brand’s advertisement claimed “Fresh Har Pal”, which was not only substantiated but also misleading by ambiguity. As per CCC and FSSAI, the shelf life of pasteurised milk is limited and claiming it to be fresh always is misleading.
3. Johnson & Johnson Private Limited (Benadryl): The advertisement’s claim of “50 Years Doctor’s Trust” and Voice over claim, “Pachchaas saaloon se doctoron ka bharosa”, was found to be inadequately substantiated and misleading by ambiguity. To note was the survey they relied upon for the claim, was conducted in the year 2012 which interviewed doctors that had less than 20 years of clinical experience.
4. Make my trip India Private LTD (Make My Trip): The advertisement claim made by the leading online travel company was that of “Zero cancellation offer” on hotel bookings under makemytrip.com which was found misleading by omission of a qualifier that the offer is subject to terms and conditions. In the TVC, the claim offer, “Zero cancellation charge on Hotel Bookings” was qualified via disclaimer to mention that T&C apply, however the position of the above disclaimer was not correctly placed in the advertisement, hence violating the Clause IV of the ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers.
5. NIMS Heart Foundation: The advertisement’s claim, “The prime heart care centre in South Kerala with the highest success rate” was not substantiated with supporting data, or any third-party validation.
6. Indigo Paints Pvt. Ltd (Indigo Dirtproof & Waterproof Exterior Laminate): The advertisement claimed of being “the first in India to introduce dust and water resistant properties” in the voiceover, “India ka pehla paint jo dhool mittee aur paani dono ko roke” which was not conclusively proven. The advertiser did not provide any test conducted on their finished product, or any comparative data of their product versus other products in the same category, to prove their above mentioned claim hence making it misleading by exaggeration.
With ASCI making serious calls on the advertisments keeping the position of us customer’s in mind is surely a serious call to all the Indian brands who indulge into brand advertising to pull up their socks.