MUMBAI: In the New Year, the Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld 134 out of 144 advertisements in the month of January.
Advertisements in personal and healthcare sector category again emerged on top with 77 per cent of total misleading advertisements. The CCC found the claims in health and personal care product or service ads of 105 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.
Some of the complaints against the ads that were upheld are: Philips Kerashine Range claims that it ‘does not damage hair even when styled every day.’ Dabur Chyawanprash’s packaging claims that it provides ‘3 times more immunity’. The fine print says that the claim of ‘3 times more immunity’ is based on ‘preclinical study on NK cells’. It also claims that it is scientifically proven. Dr Batra’s Homeopathy Clinic claims that Hair Loss due to heredity can be cured. This claim needs to be substantiated with necessary support data.
Others included: Forever Young: Claims ‘10 kg weight loss in 10 weeks’, ‘Guaranteed weight loss and inch Loss,’ ‘Weight loss with lipo laser’ Liposuction/ lipolaser is only advised for body contouring and not for weight loss. Poison Anti-Aging Skin Clinic: Claims to be ‘Awarded as the Best Skincare & Hair Clinic by Shashi Tharoor.’ The Body Care Slimming & Beauty Clinic for Men and Women: The ad shows size reduction from size XXL (Extra Extra Large) to size M (Medium) in 24 hours.
When it came to the education category, the CCC found claims in print ads by 10 different advertisers were not substantiated violating the ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions and hence the complaints against the ads were upheld.
Institute of Finance Banking & Insurance claims ‘Become a Bank Officer in 60 days’, ‘Placement as Bank Officer on program completion’, ‘India's Largest Banking Education & Training Institution’, ‘Over 25,000 Placements. Over 1, 00,000 Professionals Trained.’ Academy of Future Teacher & Education (AFTE) claims that it is a ‘Join Intensive Coaching Classes for Assured Selection’, ‘India’s No. 1 Institute’. Also, Career Launcher still maintains misleading information on their website, in spite of the complainant approaching the company to remove the said claims.
The CCC concluded that the claims mentioned in these five advertisements were not substantiated. The advertisements contravened ASCI’s Code. For example, Havells Geyser claims that the geyser keeps hot water hot for 24 hours in only ? a unit of electricity. The protagonist in the ad is advising the consumers to keep the gadget on even when not in use. The CCC concluded that the ad without justifiable reason encourages negligence towards utilisation of electricity and exploits consumers’ lack of experience or knowledge regarding ‘Standing Loss’ value being valid if no water drawn. Complaint was upheld.