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In October, ASCI upholds complaints against 105 out of 146 ads

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MUMBAI: In October, Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 105 out of 146 advertisements. Out of the 105 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 44 belonged to personal and healthcare category, followed by the education category with 43 advertisements.

Some of the health care products or services advertisements also contravened provisions of the Drug & Magic Remedies Act and Chapter 1.1 and III.4 of the ASCI Code. Complaints were upheld against Hindustan Unilever Ltd’s advertisement of Fair & Lovely which claims that the product marketed in India gives better results than other fairness creams marketed in Dubai, Singapore and Japan stating a comparison versus “some of the world’s best products.” The advertisement is misleading by exaggeration and implication that the advertised product is unbeatable with all the products in those countries. Also the advertisement is likely to be misleading by ambiguity as the comparison is only for instant whitening effect of the advertiser’s product.

Similarly, the advertisement of Wockhardt Hospitals claims, "Best in Healthcare" and "Best in Bariatric Surgery." The advertisement is misleading as the Registration Certificate of the doctor shows his registration only as MBBS and not a specialist (MS). Also, the advertisement is in breach of Code of Medical Ethics as the advertisement mentions the name of Dr. Bhandari promoting the Hospital which is in violation of the Medical Council of India (MCI) Code of Ethics Regulations 2002 Clause 6.1.

Also, the advertisement of Dabur Range of Product claims “Do you have the energy of Shilajit Gold?” & “Shila X Oil - Full of energy”, were not substantiated. Also, when read in conjunction with the visual in the advertisement and specific to the advertisement claim, “Shila X Oil - Full of energy”,   the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.

In the education category, CCC found that advertisements violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions and upheld complaints against the advertisement by AKS University that claims it is the best university. The claim was not qualified with appropriate disclaimers and many others.

In the e-commerce category, complaints were upheld against the advertisement of Flipkart.com that claimed to offer ‘Flat 90 per cent’ off which was misleading as the TVC did not mention that the offer is on limited stock. Similarly, Jasper Infotech’s Snapdeal.com advertisement a boy is telling the audience that my girlfriend’s sister is very cute. When we go outside she always comes with us, absolutely free. Just like Snapdeal Diwali bumper sale in which a product is absolutely free with another. The TVC makes a derogatory reference to women and refers to women as a commodity.

The others against whom complaints were upheld included the advertisement claims that Hindustan Hindi Daily is the number one newspaper of Jharkhand. The claim contravened the ASCI Guidelines on Supers; the advertisement of Tata Docomo Photon Max Wi-Fi claims, “Consistent high speeds” which was not substantiated with test reports from independent third party. Also, the Advertiser did not provide substantiation of actual speed achieved in real conditions and in several locations within the cities quoted in the advertisement; Viacom 18 Media (Sonic Power Rangers) advertisement shows teenagers in uniform climbing the walls of their education institution and doing somersaults while entering the class. As the advertisement shows dangerous acts which are likely to encourage minors to emulate them in a manner which could cause harm or injury, the complaint was upheld under Chapter III 2b) of the ASCI Code.

Click here to read the full report

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