ASCI investigated 342 complaints against advertisements, 232 advertisements, of which complaints against 208 advertisements were upheld by the advertisers on receipt of communication from ASCI. Of these 208 advertisements, 83 belonged to the education sector, 64 belonged to the healthcare sector, eight to personal care, seven belonged to the Real Estate sector, five to the food & beverages sector, and 41 were from the ‘others’ category.
We have highlighted a few brands and their false claims that mislead consumers.
Hindustan Unilever Limited- Kissan Ketchup
According to ASCI, the advertisement’s claim “boring roti-sabji ko banaiye yummy kissan roll” is misleading. It was observed that while the CCC agreed with the advertiser’s submission that Ketchup, like a condiment, enhances the specific tastes of the dish, thereby making it appealing to the children. However, calling out regular “roti-sabji” as boring was considered to be discrediting home-cooked food and also disparaging good food practices. The advertisement also contravened the ASCI Guidelines on Advertising of Food & Beverages.
Bajaj Auto Ltd (Bajaj Pulsar)
According to ASCI, the television and YouTube advertisement’s showing the following visuals were found to be objectionable 1) A boy seated on a trolley and speeding in it in a supermarket store, 2) A boy dressed in superman costume jumping off a diving platform into an isolated swimming pool with no lifeguard shown, 3) Boy is shown to be standing on a water slide and as a result, slipping and tumbling in a water resort. The CCC concluded that these actions portray dangerous acts and manifest a disregard for safety. The visuals are also likely to encourage minors to emulate such acts which could cause harm or injury.
Prince Pipes And Fittings Ltd (Prince Pipes)
The advertisement on multiple platforms claims “Presenting our range of Zero Defect* products”, “Zero Defect”, “Zero Defect wala Prince” and Akshay Kumar endorsing Zero Defect symbol was not substantiated. It was observed that the claim of ‘Zero Defect’ carries an asterisk (*) and is indicated with the symbol™. The asterisk (*) is further qualified to mention`* Zero Defect Manufacturing Process’. However, the Zero Defect manufacturing process may not necessarily result in the zero-defect product because there are many variables in the entire manufacturing process. Furthermore, the advertiser did not provide a copy of the application applied with the trademark registry.
Pernod Ricard India Pvt Ltd (Absolut Music CD)
The print advertisement depicting the Absolut brand name and reference to Music CDs was considered to be a surrogate advertisement for a liquor brand – Absolut Vodka. The advertisement is misleading by implication and has reference to the words “A Colourful World is a Colourless One. Absolut Music CDs. Born Colourless”.
In addition, the advertiser did not provide the annual market sales data of the product advertised, proof of the in-store availability of the product being at least 10% of the leading brand in the category the product competes as measured in metro cities where the product is advertised and a valid certificate from an independent organization for distribution and sales turnover. The print advertisement did not meet the requirements as per ASCI’s Guidelines for Qualification of Brand Extension Product or Service and hence was in violation of the said guidelines.
Dabur India Ltd. (FEM Fairness Naturals Bleach)
The television advertisement’s claim, “Artificial chodo go natural”, “Saffron, Turmeric aur Gold se enriched…Fem Fairness Naturals…jo de naturally glowing skin” were not adequately substantiated, the advertisement is promoting Fem – a bleach product in three variants and the product has a registered trademark `Fem Fairness Natural’. The CCC did not agree with the advertiser’s contention that the advertisement is not about “fairness” as the context of the TVC is set in the opening frames itself. The TVC disclaimer further states that “Some creams give artificial fairness that washes off” implying that the advertised product would give the same (fairness) benefit in a different manner. The advertisement shows the protagonist to be dark and grim face who, post product use, is shown to be fair in complexion and happy.
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.