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ASCI upheld 121 complaints against 140 advertisements

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MUMBAI: In May 2014, Advertising Standard Council of India’s (ASCI) Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 121 out of 140 advertisements. Health & personal care category continued to lead with the highest number of complaints received in the month.

The CCC found the claims in health and personal care product or service ads of 66 advertisers, released in the print/TVC to be either misleading or false or not adequately/scientifically substantiated and hence violating ASCI’s code. Some of the health care products or services ads also contravened provisions of the Drug & Magic Remedies Act.

Some of the complaints upheld included Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare India’s Dettol Soap advertisement’s which claims that ‘Only Dettol gives 10x more protection against germs’ was misleading as the advertiser’s product with germicidal actives was compared against products without germicidal actives. Dettol being the “only” effective product was not substantiated by comparison with other products in the market with germicidal actives. Marico’s advertisement of Nihar Naturals Shanti Amla hair oil claiming that it is enriched with 500 per cent vitamin E was misleading as the comparison was being made with a product marketed in 2010. Hindustan Unilever’s TVC of Fair & Lovely suggests that fairness is essential for a girl to match a boy in status or essential when a girl is to get married or grow up in hierarchy at work place.

The second category in which CCC found claims in print ads by 39 different advertisers were not substantiated and thus, violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions was education. Hence, the complaints against these ads were upheld. For example,   IIT Kalrashukla advertisement claims that ‘with Kalrashukla you get into IIT or get your fees back. If you don't make it, we return the fees, no questions asked’. Institute of Rural Management advertisement claims that it is ‘Ranked A++ among the Top Business Schools in India’, ‘3rd among Top Sectoral B-Schools of India- Competition Success Review’,  ‘rated at level A2- Business Standard’ ‘7th among Best Sectoral B-Schools- The Outlook’, ‘ranked A+ among Best B-Schools- Dalal Street Journal’,  ‘exceptional 100 per cent Placement with renowned corporate.’

As per the complaint “The advertisement of Dominos Pizza shows two roommates use a third roommate's credit card to order a pizza without his permission.  This is spreading an unacceptable message to youngsters to use someone else's credit card without their permission.” The CCC viewed the TVC and considered the advertiser’s response.  The CCC concluded that TVC depicts credit card of one individual being used by another without his permission contravenes Chapter III.4 of the ASCI code. This complaint was upheld in the food & beverages category.

In the entertainment category, Sarthak Entertainment’s (Sarthak TV) advertisement claims to be number one Odia channel. But in fact it is positioned at number two. There is no mention of the source or criteria based on which the channel has claimed this position. In the absence of comments from the advertiser, the CCC concluded that the claim ‘No.1 Odia channel’ was not substantiated and the source of this data was not provided. The complaint was upheld.  

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