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HUL made to withdraw Pepsodent, Dove Hair ads

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MUMBAI: Advertising watchdog Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has made FMCG major Hindustan Unilever to pull out two advertisements -- Pepsodent Expert Protection Toothpaste and Dove Hair Fall Rescue Treatment - for breaching ASCI code.

The withdrawal of the advertisements was done after ASCI‘s Consumer complaints Council upheld complaints against them. The complainant had pointed out that the Pepsodent TVC claimed "for effective cleaning in between teeth, we should use dental floss". The TVC further claimed that Pepsodent Expert Protection toothpaste "contains germi-paste, floss-like inter dental action and long lasting freshening mouthwash".

These claims with regard to dental floss imply that instead of using dental floss consumers should use Pepsodent Expert Protection toothpaste. Also, this goes contrary to dentists‘ advice that one should use dental floss for effective cleaning in between teeth. The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.

In the ad of Dove Hair Fall Rescue Treatment, the TVC claimed that, unlike other shampoos, Dove‘s rescue treatment nourishes hair and makes the roots strong in just two weeks. The council considered the technical data provided by the advertiser and concluded that the claims were not substantiated and it again contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.

The council also upheld complaints against 15 out of the 22 advertisements which were objected to during September 2012.

In August too, the council had upheld complaints against two of HUL‘s ads promoting Rin detergent powder and Pepsodent Germicheck Magnet.

Most of the ads found to be contravening the ASCI code continue to be from education, healthcare and FMCG sectors.

In September, the council rejected complaints against seven advertisements.

The other complaint upheld was against Panasonic India‘s print ads claiming that the Panasonic inverter saved up to 40 per cent energy, Panasonic Econavi saved up to 10 per cent energy and Panasonic Refrigerators have International safety standards, that they are Vitamin-safe (preserve vitamins) and Ag clean (non-stop air purification, kills 99.9 per cent bacteria). The complainant said the advertiser needed to provide all necessary data to prove these claims. In the absence of scientific studies from the advertiser, the council concluded that the claims made in the advertisement and cited in the complaint were not substantiated. The advertisement contravened chapter I.1 of the code, the council ruled and upheld the complaint.

The complaint against Ultratech India‘s 18 Again Vaginal & Rejuvenating Gel too was upheld. As per the complaint, the print advertisement claims that, "it removes dry cells from vagina and replaces them with new cells", "improves blood circulation", "makes the vagina less vulnerable to infections". The council concluded that whilst the advertiser provided the license approval given by the state FDA, in the absence of clinical studies, the claims made in the ad and cited in the complaint were not substantiated.

Kimberly-Clark Lever‘s Huggies Total Protection Diapers‘ TVC claimed that, "The New diaper from Huggies is clinically proven". The pack claims, "Clinically proven to help prevent diaper rash". According to the complainant, the TVC claim and the pack claim misleads the consumers into believing that a proper clinical test has been conducted on Huggies Total Protection diaper whereas in reality there is no clinical data on Huggies to support the claims. The claim, "Huggies clinically proven" is a very broad claim and covers all the variants of Huggies. The super in the TVC did not comply with the guidelines laid down by ASCI. Also the super is blurred and illegible from a consumer point of view. The advertisement contravened Chapter I.4 of the ASCI Code as the "clinically proven" claim was neither representative nor adequately relevant given that testing was carried out in a different country with different climatic conditions and for a different product variant of the brand. This complaint was thus upheld. The supers that appeared in the TVC were also not clearly legible thus contravening the regulations of ASCI‘s minimum lettering size of supers. This complaint was also upheld.

Among educational institutions, there were complaints against AIHM Institute of Hotel Management, Speedwings Aviation Academy, G-NET Business School Computer Education and Poddar Group of Institutions and all these were upheld.

Jaypee Infratech‘s TVC shows "a Tata Safari car driven by a ruffian looking actor who is drinking while driving and who later gets hauled up by the police." As per the complainant, in the TVC, Tata Safari brand is shown in wrong light and the logo is visible throughout the advertisement. The council concluded that the "use of Tata Safari logo" violated Chapter IV.2 of the ASCI Code as the advertisement made unjustifiable use of the logo of the complainant. The advertisement was also in contravention of Ch.IV.1 (e) of the Code where it discredits another product directly or by implication. The complaint was upheld. The council noted the advertiser‘s assurance that the TVC was being modified appropriately by "removing the Tata Safari logo".

In the case of Rejuvenation Centre, there was a complaint its print advertisement where it claimed that it "gives relief from knee pain without any surgery, 100 per cent cure, no side effect, no need to get admitted in hospital, it gives remarkable results, which is not seen in any other treatment and also effective in curing stiffness in shoulders, cervical, back pain and wrist pain. The complainant mentioned that the advertiser needs to substantiate these claims with supporting clinical information and with details of reports of tests/trials conducted by an independent recognised testing institution. In the absence of clinical data from the advertiser, the claims made in the advertisement and cited in the complaint were not substantiated. The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code. The complaint was upheld.

Glaxosmithkline Pharmaceuticals‘s Rota Virus Vaccine TVC said "the vaccine is the only way to reduce the incidence of infection and the fact that techniques like hand washing do not help". This is a misrepresentation of facts. Rota virus is spread by ingestion of the virus from contaminated food and water. Hygiene helps reduce the spread of infection. The vaccine causes a fivefold increase in intussusceptions, a serious surgical condition that can result in death if not treated urgently. This is not explained in the advertisement. The council concluded that, the claim "the vaccine is the only way to reduce the incidence of infection", was inadequately substantiated. And the statement, "Rota virus vaccine is the only way to treat Rota Virus" was misleading. The advertisement contravened Chapters I.1 and I.4 of the Code and the council upheld the complaint.

Madhuraj Hospital‘s print advertisement claimed, "More than 10,000 couples have benefited with children and complete treatment and diagnosis is provided for infertility in males and females". The council concluded that the claims were inadequately substantiated.

The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code. The complaint was upheld. The council noted the advertiser‘s assurance that the advertisement would not appear again in its present form.

Regency Hospital‘s print ad claimed that it promotes treatment for growing hair naturally in one day. The complainant said this claim needs to be substantiated with statistical and other necessary data. The council concluded that the claims mentioned in the advertisement were inadequately substantiated and contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code. The complaint was upheld.

During September, the council received complaints against another three print and four TV advertisements. The complaints received were against -- Agron India‘s Intimaxx, Allergan Health Care India‘s Juvederm Injectable Gel Filler, Sri Manakula Vinayagar Engineering College, "Sharda University", "Heinz India‘s Complan", "Britannia‘s Milk Bikis", "Hero Honda Motors‘ Hero Maestro". However, as these advertisements did not contravene ASCI‘s codes or guidelines, the complaints were rejected.

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