In November 2019, ASCI investigated complaints against 408 advertisements, of which 137 advertisements were promptly withdrawn by the advertisers on receipt of communication from ASCI.
The independent Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI evaluated 271 advertisements, of which complaints against 248 advertisements were upheld. Of these 248 advertisements, 159 belonged to the education sector, 44 belonged to the healthcare sector, eight to personal care, four to the food & beverages sector, and 33 were from the ‘others’ category.
We have highlighted a few brands and their false claims that mislead the consumers.
Dabur Babool Ayurvedic Paste:
The Dabur campaign talks about the fact that while all other ordinary white toothpastes are just a fraud, it is only Dabur Babool that is best for the teeth.
According to ASCI, The reference to ordinary white toothpaste in the TVC denigrates the entire category of “calcium-containing white” toothpastes. The claim of superiority of the advertised product over all “Calcium containing white” toothpastes was not substantiated and the advertisement discredits such products in the garb of educating consumers.
The advertiser also did not provide any evidence showing that the celebrities had done due diligence prior to the endorsement, hence violating ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising as well.
Hindustan Unilever Ltd (Rexona Whitening Roll-On)
HUL’s Rexona Whitening Roll-On claimed that the product can help get rid of dark underarms in five days and claims to provide Unstoppable Confidence.
According to ASCI, The advertiser couldn’t provide any findings to prove that in 5 days dark skin becomes dramatically fair as depicted in the TVC, nor any improvement was conclusively proven by objective evaluation.
The results from the Expert Visual Assessment states an improvement of only the Evenness of skin color and Skin smoothness which is a subjective assessment; however, it was not representative of complete removal of dark patches as being depicted in the TVC.
VLCC Cool Sculpting
50% Curves back or 100% Cash Back, even though the statement might sound attractive, one can be a hundred percent sure about the many terms and conditions that must apply on this.
According to ASCI, The print and television advertisement’s claim “Add figure to your shape in just one session” was not substantiated with treatment efficacy data. The advertiser did not provide evidence of their customers who achieved the claimed results of adding figure to their shape in just one session regardless of their physiological status and lifestyle.
Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare (India) Pvt Ltd Moov Advance Diclofenac Gel
This campaign of Move has the misleading and ambiguous written all over.
According to ASCI, The advertisement’s claim “#1 Doctor recommended active for acute pain relief” was considered misleading. It was observed that the basis for claim is a certificate from IQVIA Consulting and Information Services which certifies that Diclofenac is the most prescribed molecule in IQVIA’s Topical Anti-rheumatics category for a 12-month period ending June 2019. The advertised product falls under the category of “OTC medicine” and products in this category are not necessarily sold via prescription route alone. The “most prescribed” claim does not necessarily mean “most recommended” product.
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.