Mumbai: In February 2017, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 242out of 305 advertisements. Out of 242 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 165belonged to the Healthcare category, 31to the Education category, followed by 19 in the Food & Beverages category, 9 in Personal Care Category, and18advertisements from other categories.
During February 2017 ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against some of the prominet brands that includes Zee Business, ET Now, TOI, Times Pro, HUL’s Fair & Lovely, Airtel 4G, Idea 4G, Hamdard, Amrutanjan, VLCC, Himalaya Drugs, Emami, Mother Dairy, BSNL, Mobikwik, Snapdeal, Amazon.in etc.
The detailed look in to the nature of complaints and reason behing upholding against such high profile brands are as following:
Hamdard Laboratories (India) (Hamdard Jigreen):The advertisement’s claim, “Protects from jaundice” (“Jaundice se suraksha”), was inadequately substantiated, and is misleading by implication.
Amrutanjan Health Care Ltd. (Amrutanjan Relief Cough Syrup):The advertisement’s claims “It works five times better” is misleading by ambiguity and implication. It was noted that the advertiser intended to convey that the product has a five way action.However, in the advertisement it has been conveyed as “five times action”. The benefits of five ingredients is not equivalent to “five times” benefit, hence it was considered to be a misrepresentation of the product benefit.
Bennett Coleman Ltd. & Co. (TimesPro): The advertisement’s claims, “3 assured job interviews after course completion” and “More than 3000 candidates placed already”, were not substantiated with verifiable claim support data, and are misleading by exaggeration. As the student testimonial was not substantiated, it was considered that the disclaimer “Actual student testimonial, Model in the ad is used for reference only” was misleading by ambiguity. Also the claim, “Salaries up to 3.5 Lakhs p.a.”, was not substantiated with evidence to prove that students were offered the claimed salary packages, and is misleading. The advertisement contravened Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions and Programs as well.
VLCC Health Care Pvt. Ltd. (Cool sculpting): The advertisement’s claims, “Get rid of stubborn fat”, was inadequately substantiated and is misleading. Also the claim, “Can see difference in just one sitting”, was not substantiated with clinical evidence, and is misleading as the visible difference with CoolSculpting® technology requires multiple sittings along with other restrictions to be followed. Further for the claim, “The most innovative research by VLCC in the area of Body Contouring”, the CCC noted the Advertiser’s response that the Marathi version of the advertisement erroneously claimed “research by VLCC”.
The Himalaya Drug Company (Himalaya Tan Removal Orange Peel off Mask): The advertisement’s claim “Removes tan very easily (visual indicates in 15 minutes)” was not adequately substantiated and is misleading by ambiguity and implication. It was noted that the tan removal benefit of the product was not substantiated with either single use or multiple uses of the product. The visual showing the model removing the peel off mask to reveal fairer skin when seen in conjunction with the visual of a clock indicating 15 minutes time accompanied with the voice over stating tan removal benefit, is likely to mislead consumers regarding the product’s speed of action.
Emami Limited (Zandu Vigorex): The advertisement’s claims, “Recommended by Doctors” and “Recommended by Ayurvedic Experts” is misleading by ambiguity and exaggeration as it was noted that the advertiser submitted a certificate from one Ayurvedic practitioner and the CCC did not consider this information to be representative nor adequate to make a generic claim of product recommendation. Further in absence of details regarding the study design and questionnaires used in this market survey, the claim “98% Satisfied Customers” was inadequately substantiated and is misleading by ambiguity. Also, while the claim “Boost Stamina & Energy”, was justified based on attributes of the ingredients, it was inadequately substantiated with any clinical studies specific to this product composition, and is misleading.
Hindustan Unilever Limited (Ponds Men Energy Charge Icy Gel Face Wash): The advertisement’s claim, “say no to sun dullness”, was inadequately substantiated, and is misleading by exaggeration and implication that the face wash product will remove sun tan.
Hindustan Unilever Limited (Ponds Age Miracle Firm & Lift): While the product demonstrates efficacy in reducing fine lines and wrinkles and potentially appearance of skin as per data submitted, the claims pertaining to age related changes in the facial contour / neckline / jawline i.e., “Ten years younger with Pond’s Age Miracle Firm and Lift”, “Firms and lifts neckline and jawline”, “Firm and lift your Y-Contour. Look up to 10 years younger”, “INSIDE – Instant Lift Complex strengthens skin and lifts the fibers in the jaw and neckline” and “OUTSIDE – A firmer, lifted Y-Contour”, were inadequately substantiated. In the context of the visual in the advertisement emphasizing the Y contour, the claim of “look upto ten years younger” was considered to be misleading ambiguity and implication.
Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (Fair and Lovely BB Cream): The advertisement of Fair and Lovely BB Creamemphasizes the importance of one’s looks for a perfect impression for a job interview and states that the advertised product provides the perfect interview look. The statement, “isme fairness cream ke saare gun hai”, implies that the user of the product will appear fairer and would be able to succeed at the job interview.In the multi-image progression of the protagonist’s skin tone, the protagonist’s face appears concerned / unhappy in the pre-use state. It was concluded that the advertisement contravened Clauses 1 and 2 of the ASCI Guidelines for Advertising for Skin Lightening or Fairness Improvement Products (“Ad should not portray people with darker skin, in a way which is widely seen as, at a disadvantage of any kind, or inferior, or unsuccessful in any aspect of life particularly in relation to job placement……”, “In the pre-usage depiction of product, special care should be taken to ensure that the expression of the model/s in the real and graphical representation should not be negative in a way which is widely seen as unattractive, unhappy, depressed or concerned.”)
Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt. Ltd. (Dhara Refined Vegetable Oil): The claim in the advertisement, “Blood pressure se keh do kachodi se mera yarana 28 saal purana hai” – In the context of the advertisement’s statements “pyaar kiya toh darna kya” and “Blood pressure se keh do kachodi se mera yarana 28 saal purana hai”, was considered to be misleading by ambiguity. Also, the advertisement’s claim, “Blood pressure se keh do kachodi se mera yarana 28 saal purana hai”, was inadequately substantiated and is encouraging excessive consumption of fried food implying no impact on blood pressure which may not be advisable from health point of view. Further the claim, “Heart friendly,” was inadequately substantiated, and is misleading. Also the claims, “Low absorption of oil,” and “Vitamin A and D2,” were inadequately substantiated, and are misleading.
The Coca-Cola Company (Coca-Cola): The advertisement showing the older brother jokingly pushing the coke bottle against the younger brother’s mouth and the cold drink spilling on his face and eye, shows / encourages a dangerous act which is likely to encourage minors to emulate such act in a manner which could harm or injury. Also, the visual manifests a disregard for safety and encourages negligence.
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL Corporate): The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “most affordable tariffs”and “fastest broadband”, were not substantiated with comparative data versus other similar service providers in the same category, and are misleading by exaggeration.
Dish TV India Limited (Dish TV):The advertisement’s claims, “Watching TV won’t put strain on your eyes anymore!” and “without putting strain on your kid’s eyes”, were not substantiated with credible published scientific evidence and are misleading by exaggeration. Any child unable to read a black board needs an urgent ophthalmic evaluation and suggesting HD TV as one of the solutions (“Don’t let your child’s eye become weak. Start with changing your TV connection”) is misleading.
Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Airtel): The advertisement’s claim, “Free Calls Local +STD Saath mein payen Internet Data” was not substantiated, and is misleading. Also the claim, “Fastest 4G Network” was inadequately substantiated. Moreover, the subject matter of comparison was chosen in such a way as to confer an artificial advantage upon the advertiser. There is likelihood of the consumer being misled as a result of the comparison.
Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Airtel International Roaming Pack): The advertisement’s claim offer, “Enjoy unlimited free incoming in the USA with Airtel’s International Roaming packs”, is misleading by omission to mention that the offer is subject to subscription of international roaming pack.
Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Airtel 4G Data):The advertisement’s claims, “With Free 4G data for all of 2017, the web is yours to explore”, “Surf to your heart’s content with FREE 4G data”, “With Free 4G data for all of 2017, the internet is yours- anytime, anywhere”, “Take the web everywhere with FREE 4G data”, “Take your Internet experience to the next level with FREE 4G data for all of 2017”, “Take your Internet experience to the next level with FREE 4G data for all of 2017”, “Make your phone one- stop shop with FREE 4G data.” and “Share your joys with the world with FREE 4G data for all of 2017”, are misleading by omission and implication as this offer is subject to a customer subscribing to a pack.
Zee News Limited (Zee Business):The advertisement’s claim, “No1, Business News Channel”, was not substantiated and is in violation of BARC Guidelines. BARC specifies that for making a leadership claim, the channel must present comparative data for ‘4 consecutive clock hours and 4 consecutive weeks’: This stipulation is clearly not met by both the executions. While the source of data is clearly stated, the usage guidelines are not met. Also, the advertisements are framed so as to abuse the trust of consumers or exploit their lack of experience or knowledge.
Times Network (ET Now):The TV channel claims of having a higher comparative audience/viewership. This claim did not meet the BARC standard for ‘Single Event’. Further, the manner of communicating the competitive comparison between ET Now and CNBC TV18 violates BARC guidelines and constitutes a misleading assertion. While the geographic and demographic conditions for ‘Single Event’ were met, the critical stipulation about increased ratings during the day part was not met. The advertisement fails to comply with BARC Guidelines both per se and in the manner of comparing ET Now with its competitors. Also for the emailer the Competitive comparison: The basis of comparison shares based on Impressions ‘000 is permissible. However, the comparison of shares with other channels, “ET Now 46%, CNBC TV18 43%” and so on is not compliant with BARC Guidelines. Graphical comparison: This is not permitted under the BARC Guidelines.
Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd (Times of India): The advertisement’s claims, “Delhi’s Most Preferred Newspaper” and “Reports Exclusive Stories like No One Else*”, were not substantiated with verifiable comparative data versus other similar newspapers in the same category. Also, the claims are misleading by ambiguity and exaggeration.
One MobiKwik Systems Private Limited: The advertisement’s claims, “Free petrol from 6PM- 9PM (Pune only)!” the offer details say, “Get 100% cashback between 6PM – 9PM from 3rd – 9th February 2017!” It was noted that the claim of “Free” is contradictory to the conditions stated, and is also misleading by ambiguity as it is subject to terms and conditions that 100% cashback is limited to only Rs.100/-.
Idea Cellular Ltd. (Idea 4G): The advertisement’s claim, “Idea Cellular is available in over 4 lakh towns and villages across India,” is misleading by ambiguity and implication that Idea 4G services are available in most parts of rural and urban India.
Jasper Infotech P. Ltd. – Snapdeal (Samsung J2 Pro): The advertisement’s claim in the print advertisement of Samsung J2 Pro having “Quad-core snapdragon 821 processor” is false and misleading, though the Advertiser (Snapdeal) states that there was an inadvertent error made in the print advertisement. However there was no error in product description of the said product on the online platform.
Jasper Infotech P. Ltd. (Snapdeal):The price claim of “Rs.199 less Discount 85% off”, is false and misleading.
Amazon.com (Micromax 32T7260 HDI LED TV): The advertisement’s claim, “You can also watch your favourite content by connecting your TV to smartphone, using MHL (Mobile Hi-Defination link) and Bluetooth technology”, is false and misleading as the product model delivered to the complainant did not have the features as claimed in the advertisement.