During the month of February 2020, ASCI investigated complaints against 279 advertisements, of which 101 advertisements were promptly withdrawn by the advertisers on receipt of communication from ASCI. The independent Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI evaluated the remaining 178 advertisements, of which complaints against 171 advertisements were upheld. Of these 171 advertisements, 77 belonged to the education sector, 59 belonged to the healthcare sector, six to real estate, five to visa/immigration services, five to personal care, four to the food& beverages sector, and 15 were from the ‘others’ category.
We have highlighted a few brands and their false claims that mislead consumers.
Bajaj Auto Ltd (Bajaj Platina 110 H Gear)
The television and YouTube advertisement’s visual of the pillion rider shaving beard of the bike rider using a shaving blade while the bike is in motion shows a dangerous act and manifests a disregard for safety. The advertisement carries a disclaimer to mention “Actions shown are a creative expression to relate with features of Bajaj Platina and are performed under supervision. Please do not imitate”.
The CCC did not agree with the advertiser’s contention that the act/stunt shown in the advertisement is hyperbole, as any person could try doing the act as shown nor did they consider this to be a professional stunt. If replicated in real life would be very unsafe. The advertisement also challenges safe driving requirements.
Times Network Ltd (ET Now)
The television and social media advertisements claiming & ET Now 75% CNBC TV18 25%”, were misleading as well as it was in contravention of the BARC Guidelines. As per BARC Guidelines, viewership may only be shown in impressions ‘000s or viewing minutes. The use of a rating percentage is not permitted. The advertiser did not include the budget day in making claims regarding budget week as they submitted only Monday to Friday data whereas the Budget was presented on the following Saturday.
Furthermore, the complainant presented BARC reporting weeks 4 and 5 data for the same target audience to disprove the leadership claim. The other claims & ET Now #1 in Budget Week & and “ET Now# 1 During Year & #39;s Most Important Week& were also considered to mislead. The disclaimers in the TV promo were in contravention of the ASCI Guidelines on Disclaimers for their placement not being in sync with the claims and their hold duration was inadequate. The TV, promos as well as Social Media promotions were in contravention of BARC advisory as well as ASCI Guidelines on Disclaimers.
Jolly Health Care (Jolly Tulsi 51 Drops)
The television advertisement featuring Bollywood icon Hrithik Roshan claimed to “Increase immunity and saves/protects from diseases”. It was noted that the advertiser is promoting ayurvedic liquid extracts of five types of tulsi. As claim support, the advertiser referred to published papers to support the benefits of “Tulsi’’ as an “immunomodulator” ingredient. The CCC noted that the reports submitted by the advertiser fail to substantiate the claim of ‘prevention of disease’ as an outcome.
Additionally, the advertiser did not provide any evidence to show that celebrity Hrithik Roshan had done due diligence prior to the endorsement, to ensure that all descriptions, claims, and comparisons made in the television advertisement are capable of substantiation. The advertisement contravened the ASCI Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising.
Malayala Manorama Company Ltd (Manoramaonline)
The Ad-Emailer’s claim, “The No. 1 Malayalam News site”, was not substantiated. The CCC observed that the advertiser conveys in the advertisement that they have about 164 million total views in Malayalam alone as compared to their closest competition who has about 131 million total views in Malayalam and other languages.
The advertisement indicates the source of the claim – Comscore MMX Multi-Platform Key Measures, Total Views, October 2019, India. The CCC noted that the advertiser has used an arithmetic manipulation to come up with a superiority figure which is a false representation. Further, there is no evidence provided by the advertiser to substantiate ComScore as the source of support.
Indira IVF Hospital Pvt Ltd – Indira Infertility & Test Tube Baby Centre
The television advertisement claim “India’s Largest and Most Successful IVF and Fertility Chain”, featuring celebrities Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Diljit Dosanjh, and Kiara Advani, as a movie co-promotion was not substantiated. The CCC did not agree with the advertiser’s contention that the “video” is not a TVC but is an informational /educational video.
The advertiser is positioning itself as the largest and most successful IVF and fertility chain in India. However, the advertiser did not provide any market survey data, or verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s center and other IVF centers in India, to prove that their chain of centers is larger and more successful than others in IVF and fertility treatment. The television advertisement contravened ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising.
WAFF Industries LLP & Exotica Refresh (WAFF Deodorants)
The television advertisement’s claim “World’s 1st Nature’s Extract Deodorant”, was not substantiated with any supporting evidence such as market survey details to conclusively prove that the advertiser’s product is a first in the world /pioneer in the launch of deodorant products with the natural extract. It was observed that as per information available in the public domain, there are many other deodorant products world-wide that contain natural extracts.
These were some of the campaigns and brands that ASCI acted upon. ASCI is definitely committed to the cause of self-regulation in advertising ensuring the protection of the interest of consumers.