Mumbai: During the month of October 2019, ASCI investigated complaints against 344 advertisements, of which 80 advertisements were promptly withdrawn by the advertisers on receipt of communication from ASCI. The independent Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI evaluated 264 advertisements, of which complaints against 137 advertisements were upheld. Of these 137 advertisements, 89 belonged to the education sector, 29 belonged to the healthcare sector, four to personal care, two to the food & beverages sector, and 13 were from the ‘others’ category.
In the CCC deliberations, the most common reason for upholding complaints was that the advertisements were misleading and exploited consumers’ lack of knowledge. This was followed by violations of ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions and Programs. The other reasons for complaints to be upheld were superlative claims and unsubstantiated claims of having won awards.
Among various advertisements that were examined, the CCC observed that a top cricketer celebrity was endorsing “Instant payment” claim being made by a well-known online platform for sale of second hand cars. An international automotive company, in their radio ad implied that consumers should not care for traffic rules hence showing a complete disregard for road safety. In the personal care category, a renowned personal care company founded by a beauty expert, mentioned SPF values that they could not substantiate by providing in vivo support data. A widely used sanitary napkin brand advertised its product to have long lasting cooling effect, which was unsubstantiated. Advertisements by hospitals offering IVF treatments were pulled up for making misleading claims regarding their success rates. An internet restaurant company’s claim of being the “World’s largest internet restaurant company” was considered to be misleading in absence of relevant verifiable support data.
The CCC also came across a significant number of advertisement pertaining to the education sector with the advertisers making unsubstantiated and superlative claims of being the most trusted, No. 1 or winning awards.
Rohit Gupta, Chairman, ASCI said “Building on the momentum of the fine work done by the ASCI Secretariat in the past few years, for the year 2020 our resolve is to further strengthen the advertising ecosystem. This would be by means of new initiatives, enhanced processes and new guidelines that we plan to roll out in the coming months. These initiatives would not only benefit consumers but would also result in enhanced participation of industry members in effectively practising self-regulation in advertising.”
The advertisements given below were complained against by the general public or by industry members. Of the 149 advertisements complained against, 11 advertisements were promptly withdrawn by the advertiser on receiving communication from ASCI. For the remaining 138 advertisements, complaints against 12 advertisements were upheld by the CCC. Five advertisements belonged to the Healthcare sector and seven from the ‘Others’ category. 26 advertisements were not considered to be objectionable or in contravention of the ASCI code.
SUO MOTU Surveillance by ASCI FOR MISLEADING ADVERTISEMENTS:
The advertisements listed below were picked up through ASCI’s Suo Motu surveillance of Print and TV media through the National Advertisement Monitoring Services (NAMS) project. Out of 195 advertisements that were picked, 69 cases were resolved immediately wherein the advertisers confirmed that the advertisements were being withdrawn post receiving the complaints. Of the 126 advertisements examined by the CCC, complaints against 125 advertisements were upheld. Of these 125 advertisements, 89 belonged to the Education sector, 24 advertisements belonged to the Healthcare sector, four belonged to the Personal Care category, two belonged to the F&B category and six fell in the “Others” category.