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ASCI'S NAMS doubles number of misleading Ads monitored in 6 months

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MUMBAI: Advertising Standard Council of India‘s (ASCI) National Advertising Monitoring Service (NAMS) has succeeding in increased monitoring of misleading advertisements.

In the six months of its existence, NAMS has doubled the number of misleading ads registered with Consumer Complaints Commission (CCC). It did not give the number of complaints filed against misleading advertisements. It, however, said the number of ads against which complaints have been upheld has jumped from 177 over full year last year to 205 within six months from May to October 2012.

NAMS has been rigorously tracking most of the advertisements being released across print and television.

ASCI chairman Arvind Sharma said, "This is a commendable milestone for the The National Advertising Monitoring Service‘ initiative introduced by ASCI, as we have been successful in doubling the number of misleading ads tracked within a very short period. NAMS is equipped to closely scrutinise a wide range of ads, thus preventing the exposure of misleading communication. We are confident that NAMS initiative will go a long way in not just helping the ad self-regulation redressal process manifold, but also in safeguarding the interest of Indian consumers."

The CCC has upheld 16 out of the 23 complaints against advertisements from various sectors it received for the month of October. Of these, six were from the education sector, two each from personal care, healthcare and media sectors and one each from the food and beverages, and insurance sectors.

The CCC has upheld a complaint against Glaxosmithkline Consumer Healthcare Ltd. The complaint against Glaxosmithkline advertisement said that the print advertisement claimed that it was ‘1 Health Drink, 5 Proven Benefits‘, ‘Clinically proven‘ accompanied by the statement ‘claims based on a study by NIN Hyderabad comparing micronutrients enriched beverage vs non-fortified placebo‘ which was misleading and unsubstantiated as it does not disclose the year in which the said study was conducted and fails to disclose whether the product tested as part of the study was Horlicks. The complaint further agrued that the statement, "In an extensive 14-month clinical research involving 869 kids, half the kids were given Horlicks with milk and the other half kids were given an ordinary health drink. As a result of this study, Horlicks kids were found to have more bone area, more muscles, better concentration, more active nutrients and healthier blood. Making Horlicks India‘s only health drink shown to improve 5 signs of growth in children". "Making Horlicks India‘s only health drink & shown to improve 5 signs of growth in children", is false and misleading.

The CCC ruled that the advertiser has failed to disclose the source of any well researched / accepted literature or reputed institute that suggests or recognizes these signs as "signs of growth". The advertisement does not disclose the manner in which Horlicks provides comprehensive nutrition as has been claimed in the advertisement. The recommendation of Horlicks in every glass of milk is in contradiction with its own recommendation on the pack of Horlicks. Whereas the Horlicks pack, which also makes the same claim of 5 signs of growth, recommends Horlicks to be taken either in milk or water, both the print and the electronic advertisement recommend that Horlicks be taken with milk. The CCC noted that five out of the seven claims did not follow the guidelines prescribed by ASCI and therefore upheld the complaint.

Cadila Healthcare Limited‘s Everyuth Natural Fairness Face Wash fell into trouble for its claim that it is the only one to have active mini capsules that clear the skin and make it look fair. The complainant argued that the advertiser needs to provide scientific proof and comparative data in substantiation of the claim. The data submitted by the advertiser is not a technology unique to them. The CCC concluded that the scientific data provided did not adequately support the claim that Everyuth Natural Fairness Face Wash "is the ONLY one to have active mini capsules that clear the skin and make it look fair". The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code and was upheld.

HUL‘s Pepsodent Expert Protection Toothpaste print advertisement was found to disobey the Guidelines on Supers Size prescribed by ASCI. As per the complaint about the print advertisement, the complainant got the impression that she does not need to use dental floss or mouth wash as Pepsodent Expert Protection Toothpaste claims to provide the same equivalent benefits. On minutely going through this print advertisement, it shows a postscript at the end of the same which cannot be read at all. The CCC upheld the complaint and noted the advertiser‘s assurance that they have stopped the advertisement.

The CCC upheld the complaint against IVYGMAT which offers GMAT Prep Course. The advertisement claimed that 356 students scored in the range of 760-790 marks in the last one year. It further said, "Train with the perfect 800 score trainer with minimum official GMAT Score", and "The only trainer in India with a verbal score of 99th percentile." The complaint found the claims to be false as the advertiser did not substantiate them with supporting data. The CCC concluded that the claims made in the advertisement and cited in the complaint were inadequately substantiated.

The Institute of Finance and Accounts claimed 100 per cent job guarantee. According to the complaint, the advertiser‘s claim needs to be substantiated with statistical and other necessary data. The CCC agreed and found the advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code and upheld the complaint.

The complaint against VPM Classes said that the advertiser‘s claims of being ‘India‘s no.1 coaching institute for higher education, having 800+ selections in MSc/ PhD/ MTech exams‘ and having ‘India‘s best performance in NET/IIT JAM‘ need to be substantiated with statistical and other necessary data. The CCC concluded that in the absence of comparative data of other institutes, the claims were not substantiated thus breached Chapter I.1 of the Code and the complaint was upheld.

The NIBM PO Maker Institute‘s advertisement claimed that it has an important role in providing placements to more than 1,000 students during the last ten years and also claims to have been honoured as No. 1 in Jharkhand. The complainant argued that these claims need to be substantiated with statistical and other necessary data which the CCC agreed to and upheld the complaint considering it to disobey Chapter I.1 of the Code.

In the complaint against Sky Academy the complainant argued that the advertiser‘s claim to be ‘India‘s No.1 Air Hostess/Flight Stewards Training Institute & offers 100% job placement‘ need to be substantiated with statistical and other necessary data. The CCC concluded that the claims mentioned in the advertisement and cited in the complaint, were not adequately substantiated. The complaint was upheld.

Electronic Technology and Telecommunication‘s TVC claimed that ET & T ET & T-VC training provided in the institute helps earn 30k-40k per month. Here to the claim was found unsubstantiated with necessary statistical data and was upheld.

Two complaints were reported against VLCC Personal Care Ltd for its advertisement on VLCC Health Care Shape Up and VLCC Shape Up Waist and Tummy Trim Gel. The basis of the complaints was that the ads were not substantiated with statistical and other necessary data to support their claims and were thus upheld.

In the complaint against Dainik Divya Marathi the complainant argued that the ad claimed that the publication is No.1 in terms of circulation and readership. The advertiser has provided `In-house MIS‘ and `IMRB‘ as the source of their claim. The figures are neither supported by the Audit Bureau of Circulation nor by the IRS. Also, they have provided incorrect advertising market share figures for various categories without mentioning any source. Thus the figures are intentionally misleading. The CCC noted the contents of the brochure and concluded that the advertisement - brochure contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code and upheld the complaint. The CCC noted the advertiser‘s response that the said brochure has already been withdrawn.

The other complaints that were upheld were against Max Life Insurance (Shiksha Plus II child plans), Alda Chimney and Sahara India TV Network all found to have contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code. The last advertiser was also found to have flouted Chapter I.4 of the Code.

During the month of October, the CCC received complaints against seven additional advertisements. The complaints were received against the advertisements of Preethi Kitchen Appliances Pvt Ltd‘s ‘Preethi Mixer Grinders‘, Modi Naturals Limited‘s ‘Oleev Active Oil‘, Okaya Power Ltd‘s ‘Nasaka Xtra Pure Water Purifier‘, Nails Arina, Om Sai Ayurved India Ltd, Cadbury India Ltd (*)‘S ‘Cadbury Dairy Milk‘, Johnson & Johnson Ltd‘s ‘Listerine Mouthwash‘ . However, as these advertisements did not contravene ASCI‘s codes or guidelines, the complaints were not upheld.

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