ASCI upholds 17 out of 31 complaints

MUMBAI: The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) upheld complaints made against 17 advertisements from various sectors like agricultural products, deodorants, personal hygiene and home shopping networks during the months of November and December.

For the same period, the CCC also did not uphold complaints against 14 advertisements.

The CCC upheld the complaint against Bollgard which made claims of boosting cotton farmers‘ income by Rs 315 billion, reducing usage of insecticides, containing in-built plant protection and increasing yields. The CCC concluded that the claims made in the advertisement and cited in the complaint were not substantiated and, thus, the advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the ASCI Code.

Another deodorant ad was pulled up by the CCC. The TVC of Pass Port Deodarant focuses on a woman‘s body and lewd expressions on the face of the male actor. The complaint was upheld as the CCC body concluded that the ad was obscene and that in the light of generally prevailing standards of decency and propriety, it was likely to cause grave or widespread offence.

The CCC also upheld Telemart Shopping Network‘s advertisement of Sandhi Sudha which was under the scanner. The TVC made claims of curing arthritis and spondylitis and of a ‘Money Back Guarantee‘ if the product was ineffective. The CCC concluded that in the absence of scientific substantiation , the claim that "Sandhi Sudha cures the disease of arthritis and spondylitis" was not substantiated and was misleading. The complaint regarding "money back guarantee" was misleading as the terms and conditions for the refund were not mentioned in the TVC.

Association of Mutual Funds in India‘s booklet states that "Every Mutual Fund is managed by a fund manager, who by using his investment management skills and necessary research work, ensures better returns than what an investor can manage on his own". The council found an objection to the word "ensures" as it could be misleading and, hence, upheld the complaint.

Dr. Ayurveda Power Prash and Body Growth‘s advertisement for ‘enhancement of sexual power‘ was questioned for its claims stating "increasing sperm count, helping people suffering from infertility to have kids." The CCC held that these claims were not substantiated and that the advertiser should provide clinical data in substantiation of these claims. The CCC concluded that the TVC contravened The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act and in this view upheld the complaint.

The advertisement of Glen Appliances states, "Do you know cooking in aluminum can be harmful?" and the website states, "Do you know aluminum cookware is not safe?". The CCC held that these claims are not truthful and have not been substantiated by any reputed international organisation such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) or by any country noted for a high standard of vigilance in consumer protection. Thus, the claims are not based on facts, and incapable of reasonable substantiation and unfairly discredits all aluminum cookware directly. The CCC concluded that the Print Ad claim and the website claim stating that cooking in aluminum is harmful and is not safe were misleading, hence, the complaint was upheld.

Vanesa Inc‘s advertisement of Denver Deodorant contains the tagline "play it cool" which is being used by the brand John Player‘s since 2005. Since copying the slogan amounts to plagiarism, the advertisement contravened Chapter IV.3 of the ASCI Code and the complaint was upheld.

In the personal hygiene segment, the CCC received a complaint against Stayfree All Night. As per the complaint, the advertisement claims that "Stayfree all night has the unique guard five. This in comparison to your Ultra is longer, wider, with more body coverage, more absorbent and drier too." This claim means that the Stayfree all night is better than all the pads in the market which use the word "Ultra". But in reality this is not the case as has been admitted by the TVC itself in the form of a super which states, "When compared only with ultra napkins of 280 mm length and 105 mm back width." The council ruled that making comparison against product in different segment certainly is unfair and misleading and upheld the complaint as the comparison was not made between products of a similar size.

Health drink Complan‘s advertisement also drew flak this time as it claims that, "Children who drink Complan grow 2 times faster than children who drink other health drinks.” This claim was substantiated through independent clinical research. This complaint was not upheld, but another complaint citing that the comparison in the chart between Complan and non Complan drinkers is likely to mislead consumers that Complan is superior on the basis of its main ingredient (milk solids) was upheld.

In the education sector, Noesis Education and Management Services was pulled up for its advertisement which claimed of being ‘Biggest in India, attended by 1200 students at a time‘, ‘Do not miss out on being trained by the best subject experts from all over the country,‘ ‘High quality contents from Bestselling authors, rank holders and subject matter experts.‘ In the absence of comments from the advertiser, the CCC concluded that the claims mentioned in the advertisement and cited in the complaint were not substantiated.

In the healthcare and pharma sector Pfizer‘s advertisement on Gelusil Antacid found itself under the scanner. As per the complaint, the TVC shows a boy running along a parked vehicle and using a sharp article scratching the vehicle possibly scraping the paint and even denting the body. The question asked is "Does this make your Heart burn?" followed by "Gelusil be used to avoid heart burn and acidity.” The CCC concluded that the depiction of the young boy vandalizing a car is likely to encourage minors to emulate such acts the careless use of which could lead to their suffering cuts or other injury.

Eureka Forbes‘ Aquasure water purifier‘s TVC claimed that the product provides world‘s safest water. Since the TVC does not provide any basis, facts or reference to any study or research work which substantiates this claim the CCC concluded that, whilst the water emanating from Aquasure water purifier is safe, the claim of the "World‘s safest water", is misleading. The complaint was thus upheld..

The CCC also received a complaint against Eureka Forbes‘ Aquasure Xtra water purifier‘s leaflet which makes comparisons and propagates false statements about Pureit products, Classic and Compact. The tabular format compares the product features and puts a ‘?‘ against Pureit products. The CCC concluded that, while Eureka Forbes has gained trust of the consumers, to say that Pureit products have not, is disparaging. By marking a ‘?‘ against the Pureit brand is misleading and creates doubts in the minds of the consumer. It was thus concluded that the leaflet contravened the code.

The CCC also received complaints against Cadbury- Bournville, Piramal Healthcare Ltd‘s Supractiv Complete, Jockey, MetLife India Insurance, ad promos of television show C.I.D., Fast Track watches, Killer Deodorant, Wild Stone Deodorant, Tata Docomo, Colgate Palmolive, Dulux Paints and Santoor Soap amongst others, all of which were not upheld as they did not breach any of the codes set down by ASCI.

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