Nowadays, in the 21st century, the advertisements have become a powerful tool for the companies to attract the customers globally. With this growing trend, the companies have started portraying false and misleading advertisement and attract the global customers. These false and misleading advertisements have an adverse effect on the customers all over the world.
ASCI will have none of that anymore. The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) under Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has banned 82 advertisements out of 148 complaints it received in June 2015 as reported by MoneyLife. Health and personal care category continue to lead with the highest number of complaints received by ASCI, even this year.
Out of 148 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 26 belonged to the Personal and Healthcare category, followed by 22 advertisements in the Education category, 9 advertisements in Food and Beverage category, 7 advertisements in media and entertainment category and 18 advertisements from other categories.
The banned ads range from FMCGs to autos, personal accessories to alcohol, and education to media. The list of banned advertisements are from prominent companies like CavinKare, Snapdeal, Vodafone Essar Ltd., L’Oreal India, Flipkart Internet Pvt. Ltd., TV 18 Broadcast (CNBC), Living Media Ltd (India Today), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), Uber, Amity University, Thyrocare, Honda Activa, and Vicco Laboratories. The reasons cited included the claims in the ads being misleading, false or not adequately/scientifically substantiated and hence violating ASCI’s Code.
Here are few of the ads that were banned by ASCI during June 2015:
PERSONAL & HEALTHCARE CATEGORY:
L’Oreal India P. Ltd (GarnierPureActive Neem+ Tulsi High Foaming Face): The advertisement, promotional pamphlets and leaflets of the product claim, “removal of 99.9 % pimple-causing germs” was found ambiguous and unsubstantiated.
L’Oreal India Limited (New Garnier Action Facewash): The claim in the advertisement of New Garnier Action Facewash, “1 tone fairer skin”, was not substantiated and was misleading by ambiguity.
CavinKare Pvt Ltd (Nyle Naturals Hair fall Defence shampoo): The disclaimer in the advertisement claims, “Baalon ke tootne ke karan hone wale hair fall …” is factual. However, the term used in the voice over “…baalon ka jhadna …” was considered to be misleading by ambiguity.
Lotus Herbals Limited (Lotus Herbals Youth RX): The advertisement claims, “A firmer and younger skin in just 7 days”, “ In 4 weeks 96 percent of users have agreed that effects of ageing are almost gone”, were inadequately substantiated.
Vicco Laboratories (Vicco Turmeric Facewash): The advertisement claim, “No Pimples, No blackheads”, “Kyunki (pimples / blackheads) hai hi nahi” is an absolute claim and was not adequately substantiated with efficacy data for this product. In addition the claim, “har ladki ki skin problem ka ek hi upaay” was also considered to be misleading.
Thyrocare: The advertisement claims, “Nine out of ten thyroid patients are mothers”, was not substantiated.
Amity University: The advertisement claims, “Amity University ranked among the Top Universities in Asia by QS, a leading ranking organization”, was not substantiated.
Koneru Lakshmaiah Education: The claims, “The Leader in Placements”, “K.I.U Awarded Best Engineering Institute in Asia”, “918 Placements in a single day! from a single Campus”, “KLU created history with 65% Placements on Day One (2014-2015)”, “K.I.U. University Awarded at National Level- – AAAA+ – Careers 360 – 2nd – Digital Mailer – 5th- Silicon India – 6th- Dainik Bhaskar – 8th – The Pioneer”, were not substantiated.
Green Valley High School: The claims, “17 Acre Lush Green Campus” and “20 students per class,” were not substantiated.
Career Launcher: The advertisement claims, “CLAT CL Nagpur Students Create History! Swarnima Mukharjee AIR 204, Shrinkhala Shikhar AIR 606, Shivani Dixit AIR 561, Darshan Gandhi AIR 1472”. These claims were not substantiated.
FOOD & BEVERAGES:
General Mills India Pvt. Ltd (Pillsbury): The claim in the advertisement states, “…Payein bilkul ghar jaisa swaad. Yeh hai desh ki 10 mein se 9 mahilaon ka kehna” for the Pillsbury RavaIndli Mix was not substantiated.
Saboo Sodium Chloro Limited (Surya Salt): The advertisement claims, “Surya salt has right amount of Sodium that helps to take care of your heart and protects from high blood pressure so that you live healthy and for longer period,” is misleading as acceptability of Sodium level for every person will be variable. Also, the product being low sodium was not substantiated.
Sri Sri Ayurveda (Yumlakki Instant Poha Mix): The visual in the advertisement of “noodles being animated as snakes” with the voiceover “leave poisonous Maida noodles” (“Jeharilee maide waali noodle chhodiye”), unfairly denigrated entire category of noodles products, distorts facts and is misleading by exaggeration.
MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT:
TV 18 Broadcast Ltd (CNBC): The claim in the advertisement by CNBC, “‘No. 1 TV channel in India” was not substantiated and was found to be misleading.
Sarthak TV: The advertisement of Sarthak TV claims higher viewership than other competitor channels. This claim was found to be misleading as is not based on at least 4 weeks of data as per the TAM Guidelines. This confers an artificial advantage upon the advertiser so as to suggest that a better bargain is offered than is truly the case.
Odisha Television Ltd (Tarang): The advertisement of Tarang TV claims of being the No.1 channel was found to be misleading. The advertisement violates the TAM guidelines and the subject matter of comparison confers an artificial advantage upon the advertiser so as to suggest that a better bargain is offered than is truly the case.
BSNL: The advertisement of BSNL’s website claims, “…..NOW BSNL AT YOUR DOORSTEP…. Our Sales team will come to your Doorstep to collect documents and provide the connection”, was found false.
Flipkart Internet P. Ltd: The website communication claims the MRP of the product as Rs. 1078, when actual printed MRP on the product is Rs. 469 which is being offered as the discounted price. This distorts facts and is therefore misleading the consumers as to actual discount being offered.
Uber: The advertisement by Uber states, “You drink, we drive”, when read in conjunction with the depiction of logos of Bars such as Zara etc. as #UBERAPPROVED PARTNERS, was seen to promote alcohol drinking.
Jasper Infotech P. Ltd. (Snapdeal.com): The advertisement of Snapdeal.com depicts a visual of “a man riding a bike without a helmet” shows an unsafe practice.
Honda Motorcycle &Scooter India Pvt. Ltd (Honda Activa): The advertisement claiming schemes of “lowest down payment of 5555” and the “lowest instalment of 999/month”, are misleading by ambiguity and by omission of a disclaimer qualifying the criteria of the individual schemes.
JadeBlue: The TVC of JadeBlue shows the visual of “a man riding a bike without a helmet”. Such actions in an advertisement are seen to promote unsafe practices.
Casa Grande: The sign off slogan in the advertisement states, “On time every time”, which was very similar to the sign off slogan of the earlier run advertisement of another competitor advertiser in the same sector of business so as to suggest plagiarism.
Aakash Institute: The advertisement shows the visual of “a boy pillion riding a bike without a helmet” which depicts an unsafe practice.
Like other countries around the world, India too has a self-regulatory organization (SRO) for advertising content – The Advertising Standards Council of India. The aim of ASCI is to maintain and enhance the public’s confidence in advertising. Their mandate is that all advertising material must be truthful, legal and honest, decent and not objectify women, safe for consumers – especially children, and also fair to their competitors.