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ASCI upholds complaints against 87 out of 108 advertisements

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MUMBAI:  For the month of December 2013, Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 87 advertisements.

Health & Personal Care category continued to lead with the highest number of complaints received in that month. In the category, the CCC found that 65 advertisements, 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 complaints upheld include: Ranbaxy Laboratories claim that by consuming Ranbaxy Garlic Plus every day is more effective than eating raw garlic or cooked. Dr Batra’s Homeopathic Clinic claims that it is ‘Awarded as India's only Trusted Brand in Homeopathy - Brand Trust Report – 2013.’ Clarins White Plus claims that ‘After 4 weeks, Asian women testing this product saw the following results: 91 per cent Less yellowish skin tone, 87 per cent more even and clearer complexion, 87 per cent improved rosy luminescence’ super: satisfaction test, 53 Asian women, 4 weeks.’

Johnson & Johnson (Johnson Baby Soap) claims Saumyata ke 12 tests. Dabur India’s Fem Bleach Cream claims that is ‘the first dermatologically tested bleach’, among others.

In the Food & Beverages category, the CCC concluded that the claims mentioned in the eight advertisements were not substantiated.  The advertisements contravened ASCI’s Code.  The complaints were upheld for Cadbury Choclairs claim that this chocolate does not stick in your teeth. They changed their name from Cadbury eclairs to Cadbury choclairs claiming the chocolate does not stick, Haldiram Salted Peanuts claims that the pack shows, a whole nut which is white and large in size, which appears to be export quality. Whereas the packet contains cut pieces and roasted half nuts, etc.

Bajaj Electricals: Bajaj CFL bulbs shows poor lighting, hides skin fairness of a girl who has to meet a potential suitor the next day.  The ad denigrates women based on the colour of the skin of the girl. The complaint was upheld in the Consumer Durables category.

In the year 2013, ASCI introduced various initiatives ensuring quicker and stronger actions against all advertisements violating its code.  The National Advertising Monitoring Service (NAMS) helped the self-regulatory body to cast its net wide on the defaulting advertisers, and Online Complaint and Monitoring Service (OCMS) made it convenient and faster for consumers to file complaints against misleading advertisements.

In addition, ASCI also launched online monitoring of ads to track advertisements in the online space and also introduced Suspension Pending Investigation for taking quick action against those advertisements whose continuation may be against public interest. These initiatives resulted in a five-fold increase in the number of complaints.

In 2013, the CCC decided on 1842 complaints out of which 1477 were upheld. Out of these misleading advertisements, approximately 40 per cent were the education sector advertisements and 36 per cent from the personal and healthcare category.

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