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24 education, healthcare and personal care ads found misleading by ASCI

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MUMBAI: ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC), in June 2017, upheld complaints against 62 out of 126 advertisements. Of 62 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 23 belonged to the Healthcare category, 17 to the Education category, followed by 10 in the Food and Beverages category, six in the Personal Care category, and six advertisements from other categories.

Direct Complaints

ASCI processed complaints against the following advertisements from general public, industry as well as from the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Grievances Against Misleading Advertisements (GAMA) Portal. Of 99 advertisements, complaints against 38 advertisements were upheld.

Healthcare

The CCC found the following claims of 14 advertisements in health care products or services 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 advertisements also contravened provisions of the Drugs & Magic Remedies Act (DMR Act), Drugs and Cosmetics Rules (D&C Rules) and Chapter I.1 and III.4 of the ASCI Code. Complaints against the following advertisements were upheld.

Rediscover Clinic Pvt. Ltd. (Rediscover Laser, Slimming, Skin and Hair Clinic): The advertisement’s claim, “Lose up to five kilograms weight with 21 centimetres from overall body”, was not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence, and with treatment efficacy data, and is misleading by exaggeration.

SBS Biotech (Unit-II) Ayurvedic Division (Dr. Ortho Capsules & Ointment): The advertisement’s claim, “getting rid of Joint Pains by using Dr. Ortho Capsules” was entirely unsubstantiated and misleading by exaggeration; the advertiser had not submitted any authentic data, nor substantiated with clinical evidence, in particularly about the efficacy of the said Dr. Ortho Capsules in curing joint pains; and is hence misleading by gross exaggeration.

Food and Beverages

PepsiCo India Holding P. Ltd. (Pepsi Gatecrash): It was noted that the font size of the disclaimer in the advertisement was in font size of six which is illegible and unreadable. Thus, it was concluded that it is clear that the advertisement had violated the ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers by using a much smaller font for the disclaimers in the TV advertisement.

Narang Group (Ocean Active Water): For the advertisement’s claims, “Is Your Water Keeping up with your Lifestyle”, “Inspiring Smarter Hydration” and “Get Smarter Hydration Everyday” it was opined that the advertised product, compared with normal water and further considering the sugar levels in the product, could not be promoted as an equal or better alternative than normal drinking water. The advertiser has chosen the comparison in such a way as to bestow an artificial advantage on the advertised product. Therefore, it was concluded that the advertisement was false and misleading by ambiguity and implication. Further, regarding the objection on the supers in the advertisement, the advertiser admitted that the supers were smaller than the required size. Thus, the advertisement violated the provisions of the ASCI Codes as well as ASCI Guidelines on Disclaimers.

Personal Care

Lotus Herbals Ltd. (Lotus Herbals Limited Safe Sun UV Screen Matte Gel): The advertisement’s claim, “Lotus safe sun karega harmful rays se fight”,  suggests that Lotus Safe Sun products including Matte GEL SPF 50 will protect skin from harmful rays of the sun as well as harmful rays from the stadium floodlights.  Further, another advertisement of the product shows UVA and UVB rays getting reflected from the model’s face thereby implying that the product provides protection from UVA and UVB rays. These claims made in the advertisements were not substantiated with scientific evidence of product efficacy, and with technical tests/trials reports from an independent third party.  Also, these claims are misleading by implication and exaggeration.

Emami Limited (Emami Kesh King Ayurvedic Oil): The advertisement’s claim, “No hair-fall, dandruff or dryness” was considered to be an absolute claim. Also, the advertiser did not substantiate the claim of “weak matrix cells in the roots of the hair are activated by this oil”. Further in respect of the claim, “pictures and names of  two  doctors  and  one hair  expert  from India, Japan and Australia” in the advertisement, saying  “Recommended  by  world' s  best hair experts”, the advertiser had stated in their response in respect of this complaint that they had modified this claim to "renowned hair experts", however this being a regional advertisement, the meaning of few words/statements have been slightly changed from what was handed to them in Hindi. It was disagreed with the advertiser’s submission as it was observed that the complaint under reference was in Gujarati and it continued using the claim which was found objectionable earlier as it was considered as false and misleading.

Further, in respect of the exaggerated claims said to be made in the testimonial by Juhi  Chawla, and that it is misleading and creates undue influence on buyers, it was observed that the advertiser has used a testimonial by a celebrity which states that she believes in the product and trusts it. The advertiser did not submit any evidence of the celebrity lending her name to this particular communication and any of the claims therein.

Also, several claims in the same communication by the celebrity were considered to be unsubstantiated and misleading. It was not agreed upon with the advertiser’s argument that the celebrity had only expressed her satisfaction with the usage of their products and its benefits; and that this is not a claim made by them but a satisfaction statement. Also it was opined that the said statement or declaration of satisfaction by the celebrity, made in praise or commendation of the product and publicised through an advertisement, becomes an advertisement in the understanding of the common man, since the consumers are most likely to be influenced by such publicity.

Lastly, it was noted that there was no information or evidence submitted by the advertiser to show that the celebrity concerned has had “adequate information about, or experience with the product or service being advertised”. In view of the above overall factors, and in the absence of any document submitted by the advertiser in support of the apparent commendation given by the celebrity, it was concluded that this claim in the advertisement has contravened the provisions of ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising.

Education

The CCC found following claims in the advertisements by four different advertisers were not substantiated and, thus, violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions. Hence complaints against these advertisements were upheld.

Satyadeva Institute: The advertisement’s claims, “No. 1 Institute in Asansol” and “No. 1 Result Maker Institute” were not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes, or any third party validation; and are misleading by exaggeration. Also the claims, “Faculties from Patna”, “Test the Best”, and advertisements showing published photographs of students, are false and misleading by exaggeration.

Vision IAS (Vision IAS Classroom): The advertisement’s claims, “15 ranks in top 20 and 70+ ranks out of top 100 successful candidates in the Civil Services Exam 2016” which was given below the photographs of six individuals with a line above the photographs reading “OUR CSE 2016 RESULT”, was not substantiated. Thus, the claims were false and misleading by gross exaggeration.

Others

Voltas Ltd. (Voltas All Star Inverter A/C: The font size of the disclaimers in the advertisement measures about 13 pixels, and hence the advertisement violated the ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers ("For high definition images, the height of the text lower case elements shall be not less than 18 pixels [18 lines] in a 1080 line raster.").

Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd.: The advertisement’s claim, “Go Green with Speed for it reduces emissions”, was unsubstantiated with supporting data, and therefore is misleading by exaggeration and omission.

Suo Moto action

The advertisements given below were picked up through ASCI’s Suo Moto surveillance of print and TV media via National Advertisement Monitoring Services (NAMS) project. Of 27 advertisements, 24 advertisements were considered to be misleading. Of these, 13 belonged to the Education category, nine belonged to the Healthcare category and two were from the Personal Care category.

Healthcare

The CCC found the following claims of nine advertisements in health care products or services 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 advertisements also contravened provisions of the Drugs & Magic Remedies Act (DMR Act), Drugs and Cosmetics Rules (D&C Rules) and Chapter I.1 and III.4 of the ASCI Code. Complaints against the following advertisements were upheld.

Total Dental Care Pvt. Ltd. (Sabka dentist): The advertisement’s claim, “Sabka Dentist is India’s largest and most accessible chain of dental clinics….” was inadequately substantiated and also misleading by exaggeration.

Rediscover Clinic

The advertisement’s claim, “No pain, no surgery, no downtime, no scar, permanent reduction of stubborn fat & clinically proven, and no side effects. Lose five to eight centimetres through LYPO-R (Non-invasive, painless)” was not substantiated with any clinical evidence and with treatment efficacy data and was therefore false and misleading by gross exaggeration.

Education

The CCC found following claims in the advertisements by 13 different advertisers were not substantiated and, thus, violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions. Hence complaints against these advertisements were upheld.

Ambition School of Competitive Education: The advertisement’s claim, “Most trusted Institute @ Purnea, Bhagalpur & Muzaffarpur” was not substantiated with any comparative data of their institute vis-à-vis other similar institutes in the three towns mentioned in the advertisement; nor was any independent third-party validation or research to prove this claim submitted. Further, in respect of the claim, “Scholarship worth Rs. 1 crore,” no information was submitted to show the details of the scheme including the criteria for the same, details of students who had been given such scholarships in the past, and independent third-party validation or certification to substantiate this claim. In view of the above, it was concluded that the advertiser had failed to substantiate the claims they had made in the advertisement; and therefore, the claims made by the advertiser were false, and misleading by exaggeration.

Personal Care

X Men Instant Fairness Face Cream: The advertisement’s claims, “long-lasting fairness, spot reduction, and contained SPF 15”, were unsubstantiated and misleading by gross exaggeration.

Tianjin Tianshi India Pvt. Ltd. (Airiz Sanitary Napkin): The advertisement’s claim, “World’s No. 1 Brand” was not substantiated with any relevant information, or authentic comparative data vis-à-vis the data of other similar brands, or any independent third-party validation or research to prove this claim. It was therefore concluded that the claim was false, and misleading by exaggeration.

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