Mumbai: ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 182 advertisements. A total of 243 cases were brought to ASCI’s notice and Suo Moto action was taken against 152 advertisements, and the rest being complaints through direct sources. Out of 182 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 65 belonged to healthcare, 96 to education, 3 to personal care, 7 to the food & beverages category and 11 from the ‘other’ category.
Gross exaggeration of product efficacy was the number one reason for upholding complaints, followed by violation of the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act (DMR Act) and the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules (D&C Rules). The other reasons were failure to provide substantial facts and figures to support claims, and delivering advertisements which were misleading by ambiguity and implication.
Among the various complaints, CCC observed that a prominent auto company was providing false and misleading information by ambiguity and omission of the reference to applicable terms and conditions in the advertisement. Similarly, a popular cement company, in a TVC, displayed violation of traffic rules that is unsafe and a dangerous practice, which manifests a disregard for safety and encourages negligence. Additionally, claims by a healthcare centre to eliminate fat with Cool Sculpting,were not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence and with treatment efficacy data and are misleading by exaggeration.
“ASCI is committed to the cause of Self-Regulation in advertising and it is our continuous effort is to protect the interests of consumers. Grievances against brands from various segments have been upheld for not abiding by the codes put forth by ASCI. Our association with several Government bodies helps us to cover the respective sectors with particular focus.”said Ms. Abanti Sankaranarayanan, Chairman, ASCI.
Out of 182 cases of misleading advertisemnts, the following arethe the list of prominent brands that featured in the list:
- CavinKare Pvt. Ltd (Nyle Natural Shampoo): The advertisement’s claim, “Say goodbye to dandruff problems with curd” is not substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration. Claims, “With natural ingredients, paraben free, balanced “pH” , “Every drop of Nyle shampoo is Paraben free”, “As it has balanced pH, it stops further hair damage” were not adequately substantiated and were misleading.
- Claims, “Fights against dandruff and conditions your hairs” and “New Nyle Naturals” were not substantiated and were misleading.
- Emami Ltd (HE Deodrant):The TVC depicts vigorous activities by the celebrity through the day such as jogging and sports and has reference to the fragrance being strong through the day. The claim, “Ek baar lagey Din bhar chaley” (“Use once for the entire day”) was not adequately substantiated and was misleading by ambiguity and exaggeration.
- Kellogg’s India Pvt Ltd (Kellogg’s Oats): The advertisement’s claim, New Kellogg’s Oats”, – While the Advertiser asserted that they launched two new flavours, no evidence to support the same was submitted by the advertiser. The claim of “New” was not substantiated and was misleading.
- Kellogg’s India Pvt Ltd (Kellogg’s Special K):While the advertiser declares the protein and fibre content per serve size on the product package to enable consumer make an informed decision, such serve specific reference is missing from the TV advertisement. The claim “High Protein”, “High Fibre” does not qualify per serve basis – more so when only one serve of the product is likely to be consumed by a consumer within a day as the product is a “breakfast option”. The claim, “It is high in protein and fibre”, is false as it is not applicable for the serving size of the product and in the context of a product positioned for weight management, it is misleading by ambiguity. The stand-alone claim of “Foods high in protein and fibre make you feel full and keep hunger pangs away” is not objectionable. But when seen in conjunction with “High Protein” “High fibre”, the claim based on 100 gm of product is misleading by implication. While “eating breakfast regularly” as a generic advice for weight management was considered acceptable, the CCC did not consider the claim statement implying “regular breakfast” with the advertised product for weight management to be adequately substantiated. The claim, “To manage weight eat a breakfast like Kellogg’s Special K”, was considered to be misleading by ambiguity and implication.The advertiser provided details of the e: mail correspondence regarding the endorsement statements as agreed by the celebrity (Deepika Padukone) i.e. “Mere jaise, weight manage karne ke liye, eat breakfast every day”, “Stay healthy and eat breakfast every day”. It was noted that the celebrity has not used the product name in her approved statements and that the advertiser is required to be consistent with the celebrity endorsed statements in the advertisement.The disclaimers were not in accordance with the ASCI guidelines.
- Abbott Healthcare Pvt Ltd: The advertisement’s claim, “Har roz Pediasure dene se bacchon ko milte hai 37 nutrients jo immunity badhane mein madad karein our de sure growth in 90 days” was considered to be misleading by ambiguity and implication. The disclaimers in the TVC were not legible and the text was white on white. Furthermore “sure growth” term was seen as a guarantee of growth which is incorrect since not every child in the study demonstrated significant growth. (Since the sub-group of Taiwanese children did not demonstrate statistically significant growth). The data presented was only an abstract that referred only to weight for age z score(and not height) and was not considered to be adequate to substantiate the claim. The claim of “Sure growth in 90 days” and its visual depiction, notwithstanding the disclaimer “creative depiction of growth” as referred in the storyboard, was considered to be misleading.
- Kaleesuwari Refinery Private Limited (Goldwinner): Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a number of important roles in the body and fortification of vegetable oils with Vitamin D2 or D3 has been recommended by various agencies to combat its deficiency in general population. While the benefits of Vitamin D and A via fortification of oils are acknowledged in general, the advertiser is attributing these benefits directly to food items fried in the advertised product such as Vada (“vada in my house gives me high energy, strong bones… Plus my bp, sugar, everything is under control), Poori (“I work with full energy all day, I have not taken a single sick leave”)etc. These claims, in absence of any qualifiers related to importance of lifestyle, exercise or other aspects having an impact on health, were considered to be grossly misleading since no single food item can help control any disease or disorder such as diabetes or blood pressure.
- Asian Paints Ltd (Royale Atmos): The advertisement’s claim, ‘But the air inside your home can be 5 times more polluted than the outside”, “Aapke ghar ke under ki hawa bahar ki hawa ke mukable paanch guna zyada pradushit hoti hai”, “Isiliye Royale Atmos iski activated carbon technology reduces harmful pollutants from the air making it cleaner than before”, “ Introducing new paint which purifies air with activated carbon technology Royale Atmos and that this paint removes tough pollutants in the air” were inadequately substantiated, and are misleading by exaggeration.
- LG Electronics India Pvt. Ltd. (LG Linear Inverter Compressor): The advertisement’s claim regarding fruits and vegetables staying fresh for one week in LG refrigerator due to “Inverter Linear” feature versus kept in refrigerator with non-linear inverter was not substantiated. The claim was also misleading by ambiguity as the results were based on internal tests and not real life conditions which are subject to variability due to frequent opening and closing of the refrigerator and/or electricity fluctuations.
- Divya Bhaskar (Dainik Bhaskar): Divya Bhaskar publishes an advertisement everyday that are numbered from 1 to 60 serially for its readers to win 15 crores rupees in prizes.One advertisement shows a young lady who says “I can still win one kg gold jewellery”. Another advertisement shows a young lady who says “I can still win a scooter”. Yet another advertisement shows a young man who says “I can still win a motorcycle”. Coupon No.48 is published on the same day. The advertiser has not given any disclaimer/s stating the details of the contest and the validity of the same. The advertiser did not provide the terms and conditions of the contest nor have the winners been declared on their website. This advertisement is misleading by ambiguity and omission.
- Honda Cars India Ltd: The advertisement’s claim, Rs.100,000/- discount on 2017 model’ was false and misleading by ambiguity and omission of the reference to applicable terms and conditions in the advertisement.
- Reliance Retail Limited (Reliance Jio Digital Life):The product pack shows the Facebook app which seems to suggest that the particular app is available for use, as such, whereas the said Facebook application was only accessible via the web browser. The advertiser’s product pack showing the ‘Facebook’ app was misleading by implication and ambiguity.
- SpiceJet Ltd: The advertisement’s claim, “SpiceJet – India’s Most Punctual Airline”, was not substantiated with any market survey data or with comparative data versus other competitor airlines or any third party validation or research to prove this claim. Also, the claim was misleading by exaggeration and implication.
- Lux Industries Limited (ONN Premium Wear): The advertisement’s numerical claim of “150%” Comfort, was not substantiated, and is misleading by exaggeration.
- K. Cement Ltd (J.K. Super Cement): The visual shown in the TVC of “a rider and a pillion rider on a two wheeler without helmets”, shows violation of traffic rules and is an unsafe and a dangerous practice, which manifests a disregard for safety and encourages negligence.