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ASCI upheld complaints against 68 out of 108 ads

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MUMBAI: In March 2014, Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 68 out of 108 advertisements. Advertisements in personal and healthcare sector category again emerged as the category which accounted for a majority of advertisements against which complaints were upheld.

The CCC found the claims in health and personal care product or service ads of 44 advertisers, released in the press 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. Complaints against the ads like Hindustan Unilever’s Vaseline Healthy White Lotion showing exaggerated claims of ‘instant whitening’ on skin, Zydus Wellness claims that Everyuth Fairness Peel off to be India’s first intelligent delivering whitening technology that targets melanocytes to give unmatched fairness were upheld.

Other complaints included Wipro (Glucovita Bolts) claims that Glucovita has iron and glucose which gives energy to the body and brain in 10 seconds. Hamdard Laboratories India product claims to be a herbal vitalizer for men.

As for the education category, the CCC found claims in print ads by 14 different advertisers that were not substantiated and thus, violated ASCI guidelines for advertising of educational institutions and hence the complaints against these ads were upheld.

For instance, DAV Institute of Engineering & Technology claims that it has ‘100 per cent placement track record of eligible students with highest offered pay package of Rs 5.65 lakh per annum, fourth top engineering college in Punjab as per CSR-GHRDC survey, 34th rank amongst private colleges of the country as rated by electronics for You magazine, 39th rank in top engineering colleges of excellence in India as per CSR-GHRDC survey and 66th rank in top engineering college of India as per Data Quest magazine.   

In the food & beverage category, Cadbury India’s 5 star advertisement shows ‘a lady giving birth to a baby who is laughing. The voiceover says that the babies used to be laughing while being born in earlier days and later they started crying at childbirth due to a disease called seriousness. So eat 5 star to become jovial again.’ The CCC concluded that the frames in the TVC showing the process of child birth are gross and offensive.  The advertisement contravened Chapter II of the Code.  The complaint was upheld. The advertisement had received 21 such complaints against it.

Other advertisements and claims which were upheld included the likes of CNBC TV18. The advertisement claims that, ‘CNBC-TV18 was the only channel India watched, during FM’s speech’ by relying on TAM rating of the day part 11:10 am until 12:06 pm. This claim of Network18 for its channel is completely misleading, factually incorrect, unsubstantiated and even disparaging to the other news and non-news channels including Network18’s competitor channels and ET Now. Network18 stated that according to TAM data, with the criteria- CS AB Males 25+, All India of 17 February 2014, the market share during the day part 11:10 am to 12:06 pm (‘Day Part’) was 100 per cent.  When calculating the TAM rating for the day part, we observed that Network18 had a share of 86 per cent which is in complete contradiction to what Network18 claimed in the Advertisement-1 and, ET Now had a share of 14 per cent, during the said day part, which clearly proves that Network18 was not the only channel that India watched during the FM’s speech as claimed by them.  TVTs garnered by ET Now during the aforementioned day part were 0.290, as against Network18 which garnered 1.680 TVTs.  Thus, it is very clear that ET Now also had viewership during that day part, which Network18 falsely and with mala-fide intention reduced to 0 per cent in the said Advertisement-1. Claim ‘as being the only channel watched’ is misleading to the viewers as there are 242 channels which had some amount of viewership ranging from 2,000 to 510,000 viewers in the Males 25+ SEC AB TG, out of which, 110 channels in that Day Part  had a higher reach than the Channel of Network18.  In the absence of comments from the Advertiser, the CCC concluded that the claim, ‘CNBC-TV18 was the only channel India watched, during FM’s speech’, was not substantiated and was considered to be misleading. The advertisement contravened Chapters I.1 and I.4 of the ASCI Code.  The complaint was upheld.  

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