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ASCI upholds complaints against BBC, ET Now, Snapdeal, Ola, Airtel and Uber

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MUMBAI: In December 2015, The Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 42 out of 79 advertisements. Out of the  advertisements against which complaints were upheld, eight belonged to the Healthcare category, nine to the Education category, followed by seven in the E-commerce category, three in Telecommunications and broadband category and fifteen advertisements from other categories.

Here below are a few of the ads against which complaints were upheld by the council:

In the case of television the following complaints were upheld:

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC World News): The claim in the advertisement, ‘BARC says we are India’s No.1 English news brand’, violates the Guidelines of BARC under Measurement & Comparison and also contravenes the ASCI Code.

Times Broadcasting Ltd (ET Now): The advertisement claims, ‘No.1 Now an Undisputed leader’ and ‘No 1 Week after Week’. ET Now has used weekly data to claim leadership position. This is in violation of BARC India Ratings – Principles of Fair and Permissible Usage, which state that ‘The period of comparison must cover at least four consecutive weeks of data’. Thus, the advertisement promo also contravened Chapter I.3 of the ASCI Code.

In the ecommerce category, as per the council, the line ‘kahan se kharchega paise, baniye ka jo poot hai, aadhe khakhe diya dhaba jisme dry fruits hai’ used in an OLX India Pvt Ltd (OLX India) advertisement was deriding a certain caste of people (baniya). In another OLX India ad, the visual of ‘a police inspector riding a bike without a helmet’ as shown in its ‘Sell Scooter Buy bike’ advertisement promotes an unsafe practice.  On the other hand Snapdeal’s claim of ‘free delivery’ advertised in its commercials was not deemed sustainable by ASCI.

Another ecommerce brand that failed to stay true to its advertisement claim was Uber India. The claim in the advertisement, ‘Switch to Uber @ Rs.9/-per km period’, was not substantiated and was also misleading by omission of any disclaimer that other additional charges are also being charged per minute/per trip.

Koovs advertisement which was also its first brand campaign displaying global fashion titled ‘Step Into Koovs’, also came under the radar. The scenes in the advertisement – ‘a girl jumping from a top floor of a building to a shirt which is hanging in the air, a girl jumping from a balcony and falling down a few floors down across the staircase, a boy jumping down from the balcony straight into the outfit’, without justifiable reasons show and encourage dangerous practices, manifest a disregard for safety and encourage negligence. Regardless of the disclaimer, the advertisement contravened the ASCI Codes due to the objected visuals being shown, shared ASCI.

In the telecommunications category, three complaints against Bharti Airtel were upheld.

The advertisement by Airtel showcasing a girl urging users to internet on their phone in the night because they will get 50 per cent cash back the next day, regardless of the disclaimer, the word ‘Cash Back’ in the claim ‘50 per cent cash back on night interne’” was upheld as incorrect and misleading.

Similarly, the Airtel advertisement that claimed ‘unlimited song downloads for free on Airtel’, is misleading by ambiguity as the data plan is required to be purchased and the ‘download activity’ for the unlimited music is also not free as there is an applicable data charge.

Another ad was the one from Airtel that claimed ‘50 per cent data offer’ during night time from 12am to 6am. The language of the super in the advertisement was not in Hindi and the hold duration of the disclaimer in the TVC was less than 4 seconds. Thus, the TVC contravened the ASCI Guidelines on Supers.

To see the full list of complaints upheld by ASCI in December 2015 click here.

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