Mumbai: In April 2017, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 130 out of 199 advertisements. Out of 130 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 73 belonged to the Healthcare category, 30 to the Education category, followed by 13 in the Food & Beverages category, 4 in Telecommunication sector, 3 in the Personal Care category, and 7 advertisements from other categories.
Under the Food & Beverages category, advertisements of prominent brands like Hatsun Agro’s Arokya Curd and Cavin Kare’s Cavins Milk Shake featured in the list of misleading ads in the mon th of April 2017.
The list of misleading ads in Food & Beverages category also includes brands like McVities, Britannia, Kingfisher, ITC B Natural etc. for the following reasons stated by ASCI’s CCC:
- Hatsun Agro Product Ltd. (Arokya Curd): The advertisement’s claim, “Keeps fresh till the last drop”, was false and misleading.
- CavinKare Pvt. Ltd. (Cavins Milk Shake): The visual in the advertisement showing the boy throwing away milk in the plant pot, and in the cat’s milk bowl, and the mother saying “Ab boring regular milk ko bye kahiye, healthy aur tasty Cavin’s Milkshake dijiye”, disparages milk and suggests that Cavin’s Milkshake is a better food option. The advertisement was inadequately substantiated and is misleading by ambiguity.
- Adani Wilmar Limited (Raag Gold Refined Palmolein Oil): For the advertisement’s claims “Zyada Seyath” and “Zyada Fry”, the data submitted by the advertiser recommends use of Palmolien as a MUFA “To Help Inhibit Metabolic Syndrome,…….”. The data also mentions that consuming repeatedly heated oils causes post prandial inflammation which is a rider to the earlier statement of usefulness of Palmolein Acid. Nowhere is there any indication that one should consume more (zyada) Pamolein for health which the advertisement mentions. Also there is no disclaimer that the repeated heating should be avoided because it is highly undesirable because of the harm it causes. The vivid picturisation of deep fried food in the advertisement is also likely to mislead the consumers in the absence of the above disclaimer. Thus the advertisement’s claims, “Zyada Seyath” and “Zyada Fry” are misleading by exaggeration, implication and omission.
- Doctor Rice: The advertisement’s claims, “Sugar Free Rice”, “Doctor Rice”, “Diabetic Rice” and “Low GI Rice”, were not substantiated, with supporting clinical data, and are misleading by exaggeration. Also the claim, “1st Time in India”, was not substantiated with verifiable comparative data versus other similar products in the same category. Also, the claim is misleading by exaggeration.
- Amazon.com Inc. (Gits Instant Dahivada Snack Mix):The price offer “MRP Rs.130.00, Offer Price Rs.67.00, You Save Rs.63.00 (48%)” of Gits Instant Dahivada Snack Mix 200g in the advertisement is false and misleading, as the actual MRP of the product is Rs.65, at which it is being sold.
- Organic India Private Limited (Organic Honey): It was noted that there was a discrepancy in the name of the advertised product, product mentioned in the Scope Certificate and that mentioned in the FSSAI licence. The advertisement’s claim “Organic” was not substantiated for the advertised product. As honey comes from flower`s nectar, honey procured non-organically will not differ from the organic one in terms of vitamin and minerals content. The claim, “Our certified Organic Honey is naturally complete with healthful Minerals and Vitamins” is misleading by implication. Furthermore, it was not clearly established as to how the honey collection was made exclusively from flowers that were not sprayed with chemicals. For the claim, “The good nectar is sustainably harvested and collected in the purest way from the Himalaya region where flowers are not sprayed with chemicals” was inadequately substantiated and is misleading by ambiguity.
- Shree Shyam Chemical Industry Roller Flour & Rice Mills (Dalmia Gold Chakki Fresh Atta): The claim on iron and vitamin fortification of Atta was not substantiated with a quantified test report confirming the iron and vitamin content, and is misleading.
- United Biscuits P. Ltd. (Mcvities Whole wheat Marie): The CCC noted that “Whole Wheat Marie” does not appear to be an established or recognized industrywide category name. The predominant ingredient in the product is maida (50.9%) and the content of Wholewheat flour is 10.9%. The product nomenclature is likely to mislead consumers regarding the contents. It was concluded that in the context of a biscuit having maida as predominant ingredient the packaging claim, “McVitie’s Wholewheat Marie”, is misleading by ambiguity and implication.
- United Breweries Ltd. (Kingfisher): The twitter advertisement is for the product “packaged drinking water”, for which the Advertiser did not provide the annual market sales data of the product/service advertised. Based on the reference to 2017 Cricket Edition, it was concluded that the advertisement depicting the Kingfisher Premium brand name is a surrogate advertisement for promotion of a liquor product – Kingfisher Premium Beer. The advertisement is misleading by implication and contravened the ASCI Code (“Whether there exists in the advertisement under complaint any direct or indirect clues or cues which could suggest to consumers that it is a direct or indirect advertisement for the product whose advertising is restricted by this Code.”). Also, the advertisement did not meet the requirements as per ASCI’s Guidelines for Qualification of Brand Extension Product or Service of the ASCI Code (“Whether the unrestricted product which is purportedly sought to be promoted through the advertisement under the complaint is produced and distributed in reasonable quantities, having regard to the scale of the advertising in question, the media used and the markets targeted.”)
- United Biscuits Pvt. Ltd. (Mcvities Digestive biscuits): In the context of a biscuit having maida as predominant ingredient, the packaging claim, “Whole wheat at its heart”, is misleading by ambiguity and implication. Also the claim, “Yeh habit hai fit”, is misleading by implication that it is a good habit to eat biscuits and it would contribute to physical fitness.
- Britannia Industries Ltd. (Britannia Nutrichoice Essentials Oat Cookies): The advertisement’s claim, “Clinically Proven” is not substantiated with studies for the advertised product among diabetic population, and the graph showing blood sugar levels (albeit graphically and not actually), and picture of a Biscuit on X Axis is misleading by implication that the product provides benefits of reducing the overall sugar levels.
- ITC Limited (B Natural Pomogranate Juice): The advertisement depicts open pot boiling (Ubalassana). In absence of a disclaimer of this depiction being a “Creative visualization” of the actual process of making a concentrate, it was considered this visual to be misleading by ambiguity.
- Nutricia International Private Limited (Protinex Grow): It was noted that the last frame of the advertisement states Protinex Grow taaki badhne ka mauka miss na ho. While the advertisement does not state that only 50% more protein contributes to growth, it is misleading by implication and omission of reference to other factors that contribute to growth such as heredity, exercise and balanced diet, etc.