Mumbai: In December 2015, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 42 out of 79 advertisements. Out of 42 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 8 belonged to the Healthcare category, 9 to the Education category, followed by 7 in the E-commerce category, 3 in Telecommunication and broadband category and 15 advertisements from other categories.
The CCC found the following claims in health care product or service advertisements of 8 advertisers to be either misleading or false or not adequately / scientifically substantiated and hence violating ASCI’s Code. Some of the health care products or services advertisements also contravened provisions of the Drug & Magic Remedies Act and Chapter 1.1 and III.4 of the ASCI Code. Complaints against the following advertisements were UPHELD.
- Life cell International Private Limited (Stem cell Banking): The advertisement’s “Gynaecologists Recommended” claim support data was not considered to be recent and inadequate to make such claim curr Also, the source of the research study was also not quoted in the advertisement. Further the advertisement states, “Life cell the #1 Cell Bank” was not substantiated. The claim in the advertisement, “Choice of over 1, 30,000 parents” was not substantiated and was misleading by ambiguity as this number of samples preserved need not correspond to 1, 30,000 parents as one parent could have provided more than one sample.
- Shathayu Ayurveda (Manage Diabetes by Ayurveda Panchakarma – Detox): The claims in the advertisement, “Manage diabetes by Ayurveda Panchakarma (detox)”, “Pacifies/Prevents the diseases”, “Improves strength & complexion” and “Increases immunity”, were not substantiated.
- M/S. S. A. Safiullah & Co (Nizam Pakku): The advertisement is about taking arecanuts. The voiceover of a child in the advertisement is likely to encourage minors to consume the product which could cause harm to them.
- Iqra Herbals (IH3 Capsules-Penis Enlargement Capsules): The claims in the advertisement, “No need to be average”, “Add size to your manhood” and “Best Product”, were not substantiated with product efficacy data. Also, the claims read in conjunction with the advertisement visual, imply that the product is meant for enhancement of sexual pleasure, which is in breach of the law as it violates The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
- Iqra Herbals (NightKing Delay Liquid): The claims in the advertisement, “Last upto three hours in bedroom” and “Guaranteed Product”, were not substantiated. Also, the claims, read in conjunction with the advertisement visual, imply that the product is meant for enhancement of sexual pleasure, which is in breach of the law as it violates The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
- Iqra Herbals (Virgin Again): The claims in the advertisement, “Get your teenage back”, “Tighten & restore grip of loose vagina in minutes” and “Guaranteed Product”, were not substantiated. Also, the claims read in conjunction with the advertisement visual, imply that the product is meant for enhancement of sexual pleasure, which is in breach of the law as it violates The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
- Baljiwan Medicines (P) Ltd. (Baljiwan Ghutti): The advertisement of baby health tonic Baljiwan Ghutti showcases their product mentioning original and adjacent to it a different packing is displayed with a cross on it, mentioning “Nakli” (fake). In absence of valid supporting data to prove that the product being depicted in the advertisement as “Nakli” (fake), the advertisement directly and unfairly denigrates the other product.
- Apollo Heart Centre (Heart Blockages treatment without Operations): The claims in the advertisement, “Heart Blockages treatment without operation”, “to increase pumping capacity of Heart (Ejection fraction) by EECP Machine”, “Guaranteed results” and “US FDA approved therapy”, were not substantiated.
The CCC found that claims in the 9 advertisements were not substantiated and, thus, violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions. Hence complaints against these advertisements were UPHELD.
- Shyamli Institute of Hotel Management: The claims in the advertisement, “recognition of hotel management courses by UGC & AICTE”, “UGC & AICTE approved” and “job guarantee” (Naukri Sunishit) were not substantiated.
- Knowledge Station India Private Limited (The Santa Kidz): The advertisement’s claim, “Rajasthan’s No. 1 School“, was not substantiated with supporting comparative data versus other institutes. Also, the claim, “India’s 1st Brain School with D.M.I Technology”, was not substantiated and was considered to be misleading by ambiguity as the advertisement does not give any credible references to authenticate the D.M.I. technology or how the school provides the implied unique brain development benefits of D.M.I Technology over conventional practices followed in other schools.
- Triumphant Institute of Management Education Pvt. Ltd.: The claims in the advertisement, “2116 T.I.M.E students into the IIMs alone – a total of 7379 final selections in CAT- 2014” and “Process and Results validated by an independent third party on 21/09/2015”, were not substantiated.
- Triumphant Institute of Management Education Pvt. Ltd. (TIME Tuitions): The advertisement’s claims, “T.I.M.E., the national Leader in entrance exam training with 200+ centres across India” was not substantiated with supporting data.
- Triumphant Institute of Management Education Pvt. Ltd (Aqua Regia the Science Quiz 2015): The claim in the advertisement, “Aqua Regia the Science Quiz 2015 – Certified by Guinness World Records & Limca Book of Records as the Largest Quiz Ever”, was not substantiated with supporting data.
- CATKing (CLAP Digital Marketing Course): The claims in the advertisement with reference to Mr Rahul Singh – “He pursued his MBA from SP Jain Institute of Management & Research, Mumbai”, “He also achieved a degree in Master of Information Technology from Virginia Tech”, and “Certification from a Harvard Business School Alumni”, were false, not substantiated with evidence, and were misleading.
- Triumphant Institute of Management Education (Times Google Search Result Validation): The claim in the advertisement, “Best Coaching Institute for CAT, GATE, Bank Exams, CSAT….” is an absolute claim and was not substantiated with comparative data versus other institutes.
- CL Educate Ltd (CAT 16/17 Program): The claims in the advertisement, “Your Gateway to IIM”, “Closest to CAT”, “9629 IIM Calls by CL students in CAT’14”, “The most comprehensive CAT ‘16/17 classroom program”, were not substantiated with supporting data. Also, the claim, “9629 IIM Calls by CL students in CAT’14”, is misleading, as it does not match with the CA report on pages 6, 7, 8 – Clause 6 – Conclusion, the total adds up to 8793 only as against 9629 IIM calls as claimed in the advertisement.
- Mahendra Education Pvt. Ltd (Mahendra’s No.1 Institute): The claim in the advertisement, “No. 1 Institute in India”, was not substantiated.
- Seven Mantras: The claim in the advertisement, “Delivery Charges Rs.99/- extra”, was found to be false.
- Snapdeal: The claim in the advertisement, “free delivery” was not substantiated.
- OLX India (Olx.in): The phrase “kahan se kharchega paise, baniye ka jo poot hai, aadhe khakhe diya dhaba jisme dry fruits hai” used in the advertisement was deriding a certain caste of people (baniya).
- OLX India Pvt. Ltd. (OLX.in – sell scooter n buy bike): The visual of “a police inspector riding a bike without a helmet” as shown in the advertisement, promotes an unsafe practice.
- Koovs Marketing Consulting Pvt. Ltd. (KOOVS.com): The scenes in the advertisement – “a girl jumping from a top floor of a building to a shirt which is hanging in the air, a girl jumping from a balcony and falling down a few floors down across the staircase, a boy jumping down from the balcony straight into the outfit, without justifiable reasons show and encourage dangerous practices, manifest a disregard for safety and encourage negligence. Regardless of the disclaimer, the advertisement contravened the ASCI Codes due to the objected visuals being shown.
- Uber India (Uber Cabs): The claim in the advertisement, “Switch to Uber @ Rs.9/-per km period”, was not substantiated and was also misleading by omission of any disclaimer that other additional charges are also being charged per minute/per trip.
- One Mobikwik Systems Pvt. Ltd (Mobikwik Cashback Offer): The claim in the advertisement, “Cashback offer”, was not substantiated.
TELECOMMUNICATION & BROADBAND
- Bharti Airtel Ltd. (50 % Cash back): The advertisement by Airtel showcases a girl entering a room of friends in the night and tells them to use internet on their phone in the night because they will get 50% cash back the next day. Regardless of the disclaimer, the word “Cash Back” in the claim “50% cash back on night internet” is incorrect and is misleading.
- Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Unlimited songs for free): The advertisement claims “unlimited song downloads for free on Airtel”, is misleading by ambiguity as the data plan is required to be purchased and the “download activity” for the unlimited music is also not free as there is an applicable data charge.
- Bharti Airtel Ltd. (50% data offer): In the advertisement, Airtel claims “50% data offer” during night time from 12am to 6am. The language of the super in the advertisement was not in Hindi and the hold duration of the disclaimer in the TVC was less than 4 seconds. Thus, the TVC contravened the ASCI Guidelines on Supers.
- Tata Steel (Tata Shaktee steel roofing sheets): The advertisement’s claim, “usage of Asbestos roofing sheets is hazardous to health”, was not substantiated and was found misleading by gross exaggeration. The advertisement also claims, “Superior in quality”, which was not substantiated. Also, the visual of asbestos roofing with a hole was considered to unfairly denigrate asbestos cement sheets.
- Devi Lal Tantrik: The claims in the advertisement, “Devi Lal Tantrik – specialist in love marriage, vashikaran, videsh mein pakka hone main rukavat, naukri, karobar, lottery, satta”, were false, misleading by exaggeration, and these claims exploits consumers’ lack of knowledge and are likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
- Honda Cars India Ltd (Honda Amaze): The claims in the advertisement, “lowest turning radius”, “25.8 kmpl”, and “High Ground Clearance”, were not substantiated. Also, the Super hold duration did not meet the ASCI’s Super Guidelines, and the disclaimer in the advertisement was not legible.
- Agarwal d2d Packers and Movers Ltd.: The claim in the advertisement, “60% people in the country Shift through us”, was not substantiated.
- Bharti Axa Life Insurance Company Ltd. (Bharti Axa Life Invest Once): The advertisement claims, “10 guna life cover”, “Tax benefits” and “Up to 9% guaranteed additions”, was found incorrect. In a scene in the advertisement showcasing the couple “only contemplating”, as argued by the advertiser, was found to be wrong as the advertisement shows the couple ending the confusion by accepting the pitch for the product. Buying the advertised product for “Confusion Ka End” makes fun of the decision making process for investing money. The advertisement also claims “with life insurance get the investment benefit too” which was found incorrect. The advertisement picking up one aspect for comparison FD (taxable), Gold (rates down), equity investment Markets (volatility) to push “Confusion Ka End” with Bharti AXA Life Invest Once was considered unjustified.
- Microtek International Pvt. Ltd (Microtek Inverter UPS): The claim in the advertisement, “Ye itni bijali bachae ke 3 sal me ho jaye free” (“Saves so much electricity so that it becomes free in 3 years by saving electricity”) was not substantiated with comparative data.
- KFC Corporation (Offer of 2 pcs of chicken for Rs. 99/-): Regardless of the disclaimer in the advertisement, the advertisement shows the picture of a Burger and 2 chicken pieces read in conjunction with the offer of “2 pcs for Rs.99/-“, prominently displayed, is misleading by implication that the whole package costs Rs.99/- (discounted price).
- Kwality Confectioners & Bakery (India) Pvt. Ltd (Brown Bread): The claims in the advertisement, “Your way to natural health” and “High fibre and low calories”, were not substantiated with technical data and are misleading by ambiguity.
- Manju Groups (Manju Groups Bhavishya Beach): The claim in the advertisement of the real estate company, “Manju Group project (Bhavishya Beach) is situated in Pondicherry”, was not substantiated.
- Ruparel Group (Ruparel Reality): The claims in the advertisement, “project approved by leading financial institutions and all government approvals received”, were not substantiated. Also, the claim when read in conjunction with the disclaimer is misleading; as the disclaimer states that “the features mentioned in the advertisement are only indicative of the kind of development proposed and are subject to approvals from respective authorities”.
- The Wadia Group (Bombay Reality): The claim in the advertisement, “project approvals received”, was not substantiated. Also, the claim when read in conjunction with the disclaimer is misleading, as the disclaimer states, “the plans, specifications, Visuals, images, dimensions, etc., are indicative and strictly for representation purposes only and are subject to approval from the competent authorities”.
- Colgate-Palmolive India Ltd. (Colgate): The scene in the advertisement showing ‘two young school students kneeling on the school floor”, is in violation of Article 21 of the Protection of Children against Corporal Punishment in Schools and Institutions. Also, the advertisement is likely to result in the physical, mental or moral harm of the children.
- Marico Ltd (Nihar Shanti Amla Hair Oil): The advertisement’s claim “500% jyada Vitamin E” was found misleading. The choice of comparison with a product that does not contain Vitamin E confers an artificial advantage upon the advertiser and there is likelihood of consumer being misled. Also, such comparison unfairly discredits Dabur Amla product.
- Times Broadcasting Ltd (ET Now): The advertisement claims, “No.1 Now an Undisputed leader” and “No 1 Week after Week”. ET Now has used weekly data to claim leadership position. This is in violation of BARC India Ratings – Principles of Fair and Permissible Usage, which state that “The period of comparison must cover at least four consecutive weeks of data”. Thus, the advertisement promo also contravened Chapter I.3 of the ASCI Code.
- British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC World News): The claim in the advertisement, “BARC says we are India’s No.1 English news brand”, violates the Guidelines of BARC under Measurement & Comparison and also contravenes the ASCI Code.