Education sector ads come under ASCI scanner

MUMBAI: The recent introduction of guidelines for the education sector advertisements by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) seems to have made an impact among the masses.

As per ASCI, the apex self-regulatory body for advertising content of the Indian advertising industry, the number of complaints against education institutions’ ads has gone up.

Out of total 12 complaints received, six were against ads of education institutes and the rest from FMCG, travel, realty and appliances companies in the month, ASCI said in a statement.

Complaints against three advertisements of Career Launcher India were upheld as ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) found that their claims could not be substantiated. The complaints pertained to claims of highest success rate, number of students taking tests, and being the most successful trainer in Mumbai. The company could not substantiate any of the claims with data and hence, the CCC asked for the ads to be withdrawn which was done.
In a similar case, ads by Time Institute were asked to be withdrawn as the institute did not substantiate its claim of being no 1 institute for GMAT at the time. A claim by Education Matters on its website about its association with the British Deputy High Commission was unsubstantiated and hence it was directed to withdraw the claim from its website.

ASCI Secretary General Alan Collaco said, “The recent introduction of education sector guidelines seems to be showing visible effects. The guidelines were much debated and well received by industry and citizens alike. Over 50 per cent of the complaints this time around were against educational institutes. The growing awareness and increased complaints is a good sign for the self regulated ad content guidelines of ASCI in India.”
Among other ads, the TVC of Colgate Sensitive toothpaste was found to be misleading from the aspect of its visual showing “other” toothpastes having only one out of four dentists’ recommending them when the figure was actually more. The company was asked to modify this aspect of the TVC. However, the company was able to substantiate its claims of “relief from pain for sensitive teeth” and “3 out of every 4 dentists recommend Colgate Sensitive” with supporting data. Colgate-Palmolive has assured appropriate modification of the TVC.

The implication that Dabur Pudin Hara’s does not contain any chemicals was found to be misleading by ASCI. The ad was instructed by the CCC to be modified appropriately. On the other hand, the company could successfully substantiate the claim of “relief from pain and acidity” with supporting data.
In a case of comparative advertising, an icecream brand of Supreme Food Industries - MeriiBoy Ice Cream – was found to be misleading the consumers by claiming that the contents of competitor’s products were artificial. The CCC found the comparison between MeriiBoy Icecream and Medium Fat Frozen Dessert as unfair and misleading.

As per the CCC decision, the leaflets were withdrawn from the market and website content modified by the advertiser. The complaint against Nirali Appliances of claiming savings on electricity and several power related claims was found to be unsubstantiated by any proper or relevant authority on energy. Upon CCC’s ruling, the advertiser assured that such claims will not be repeated in leaflets and on the website.

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