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ASCI upholds complaints against 57 out of 65 advertisements

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MUMBAI: For the month of November 2013, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) upheld complaints against 57 out of 65 advertisers.

As usual, the health & personal care category continued to lead with the highest number of complaints received.  A number of complaints were upheld for online advertisements as well.

The ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) concluded that the Facebook advertisement of Stayzilla.com of Inasra Technologies shows an indecent depiction of a woman and objectifies women, which is likely in the light of generally prevailing standards of decency and propriety, to cause grave or widespread offence.  The ad contravened Chapter II of the ASCI Code and hence the complaint was upheld.

The advertisement of website of 99acres.com clearly states ‘no Muslim is allowed’. The CCC concluded that the website advertisement promotes discrimination based on religion and contravened Chapter III.1 (b) of the Code.  The complaint was 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.

The Himalaya Drug Company’s Himalaya Sparkling White Toothpaste claims that it is ‘India’s first toothpaste with no chemical bleach’. Pack claims that they guarantee ‘whiter teeth in just 2 weeks.’ The complaint was upheld.

Similarly, complaints were upheld for Marico’s Nihar Shanti Amla Hair Oil claims to ‘keep hair black for a long time’, HUL’s new Close Up Deep Action Toothpaste claim was not substantiated ‘Confidence of Fresh breath till 12 hours, presenting new Close-up Deep Action’ and Ranbaxy Laboratories’ Revital claim of ‘21 day money back guarantee challenge’, amongst others.

The CCC concluded that the claims mentioned in advertisements in the food and beverage category were not substantiated.  The complaints were upheld for Pizza Hut wherein the hoardings state that ‘Rs 99 on any meal any day.’ This is not factually true.

United Biscuits Mcvitie’s Digestive Biscuit claims that ‘Every biscuit has 'Maida' (Wheat Flour), whereas their biscuits have 'Atta' (whole wheat flour). The content of the biscuits says that it also contains 36 per cent 'maida' (wheat flour) and only 23 per cent 'Atta' (whole wheat flour). Hence their claim is totally misleading that their biscuit is made of 'Atta' (whole wheat flour).’

In the auto category, the CCC found following claims in TVC by two different advertisers violated Chapter III.3 of the ASCI guidelines on advertisements for automotive vehicles and hence the complaints against the ads were upheld: Maruti Suzuki India’s Maruti Alto 800 TVC shows ‘a couple celebrating Diwali and when asked about the extra diya, the wife says it is for her parents who stay far away. And they travel with the diya in the car and reach the house. The wife says surprisingly the oil in the diya is intact and the husband agrees whilst looking at the dashboard’. The advertisement sends a dangerous message of carrying an oil lamp in the car. It flouts the safety rules and spreads a dangerous message. Also, a TVS Star City commercial shows a woman pillion riding without a helmet.

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