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HUL's 2 ads pulled up, ASCI upholds 21 more

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MUMBAI: HUL‘s two ads, Rin detergent powder and Pepsodent Germicheck Magnet, have run into trouble with India‘s advertising watchdog, ASCI.

As per the complaint, the TVC of Rin claimed that "only Rin has yellow fighters that brighten dull yellow clothes". The Advertising Standards Council of India (Asci) concluded that the claim is false and misleading as it is not the only detergent to do so the ad contravened Chapters I.1 and I.4 of the Code.

This is not the first time HUL has been pulled up for advertising Rin. In 2010, the FMCG giant had run into legal problems due to its ad that compared Rin with Tide. P&G, the company that owns Tide, had taken HUL to court and the High Court had issued a stay order on the said ad.

HUL‘s second ad that got punished was for its Pepsodent brand. The complainant said that Pepsodent Germicheck pack that he brought which was 200g for Rs 64 had an offer of Pepsodent G 40g free. The free 40g toothpaste is not Pepsodent G, which is better quality toothpaste, but the free 40g toothpaste is also Pepsodent Germicheck. This is a promotion gimmick. The promotion message on the pack was misleading and contravened Chapter I.4 of the code.

The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of the ASCI upheld complaints made against 23 advertisements out of 30 during August.

The upheld ads were from various sectors like Education, Healthcare and FMCG with media houses. During the same period it did not uphold complaints against seven such advertisements.

According to ASCI, the increase in complaints is largely due to National Advertising Monitoring Service (NAMS) which continues to monitor and pick up a large number of misleading advertisements across sectors.

HT Media‘s Hindustan ki Lehar was upheld too. As per the complaint, the advertiser claimed that Hindustan ki Lehar "has a circulation of 12 Lakh copies". The CCC concluded that the claim, "Hindustan has a circulation of 12 Lakh copies", was not substantiated by an independent research organisation. The ads contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.

Divya Bhaskar Group‘s three ads were upheld. The ads were - Divya Marathi, Twice the readership in Bhatinda and Ahead in readership in Patiala. As per the complaint, the promotional material of the advertiser claimed that Divya Marathi has five editions which are the "No.1 dailies by circulation". The figures given are completely different from the circulation figures given by the ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations) and are misleading. The publicity material contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.

Twice the readership in Bhatinda ad claimed that "their readership is twice that of competition in Bhatinda city" while ‘Ahead in readership in Patiala‘ ad claimed that "their readership is 20 per cent more than that of the competition in Patiala city". The CCC concluded that the claims of the ads were not substantiated by an independent research organisation. They both contravened Chapter.I.1 of the Code.

In Cavinkare‘s ‘Fairever Fairness Cream‘ ad, the advertiser claimed that Fairever Fairness has a natural fairness system with saffron, milk and wheat germ oil that prevents skin from darkening and gives clear smooth skin. The complainant said that the advertiser needs to give scientific proof in substantiation of these claims. In the absence of scientific proof, the CCC concluded that the claim, "the cream prevents the skin from darkening", was not substantiated. The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code. It was upheld.

Ultratech India‘s ad- 18 Again - Vaginal Tightening and Rejuvenation Cream was upheld. As per the complaint, ‘‘18 Again‘‘ claims vaginal tightening and rejuvenation of the vagina and it says "Feels like a virgin". The TVC also shows an old lady ordering the product. The entire TVC represents vulgarity, in light of the generally prevailing standards of decency and propriety, which would cause widespread offence particularly among women. The advertisement contravened Chapter II of the Code.

In education sector the ads that were upheld were that of EMDI Institute Of Media & Communication, Mangalayatan University, NIFE Institute Of Engineering, Sigma Institute Of Management and Technology and M S Ramaiah Institute Of Technology.

TVC Sky Shops‘ Dr. Slim Tea print ad claimed that Slim Tea being an herbal tea can help lose weight effectively. The CCC concluded that the claims made in the ad and cited in the complaint were not substantiated with clinical trials. Since the ad contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code, the complaint was upheld.

TVC Sky Shop‘s another ad on Full Gliding LG Touch Screen was upheld. As per the complaint, the Complainant ordered an LG mobile phone from TVC Skyshop in May 2012 for a special offer price of Rs 5890 plus Rs 250 for delivery charges. The phone was delivered two weeks later but the phone supplied was not an LG phone but some other brand. The touch screen was not working properly and the QWERTY key pad numbers were not functional. The pouch supplied did not fit the phone. The CCC concluded that the mention of the LG logo contravened Chapter IV.2 of the Code - "Advertisements should not make unjustifiable use of the name or initials of any other firm, company or institution, nor take unfair advantage of the goodwill attached to the trademark, or symbol of another firm".

In healthcare sector the ads that were pulled out were of Lida Slimming Pills, Global Heart Foundation, Obecu Capsule (Nirmeeti Health Care), Telebrands India‘s Chimaxx Daily Walke and Sanchi Namkin & Sada Matta (Bhopal Sahakari Dugdh Sangh Maryadit).

Brad Eye Glass Remover ad that claimed- "Remove eyeglass with 100 per cent Ayurvedic eye drops", "Helps reduce eyeglass 0.5 per month", "Helps remove cataract without operation", "Helps diabetes patients, darkness", "No side effect". The ad misleads eye patients into not using eyeglasses and to rely on the eye drops. The ad also misleads diabetics into rely on this product. The print advertisement claims and the website claims need to be substantiated with data from independent research. The CCC concluded that the claims made in the advertisement and cited in the complaint were not substantiated. The ad contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code. The complaint was upheld.

Sistema Shyam Teleservices‘ MTS Mblaze ad was upheld. As per the complaint, the advertiser claims to be India‘s Fastest Internet service provider. The CCC concluded that in the absence of comparative data, the claim "India‘s Fastest Internet service provider" was not substantiated. The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.

In Farmtrac 40 Tractor‘s ad there is a wrong interpretation of the concerned product feature. The ad compares wheel base of the two tractors, and claims that Farmtrac 40‘s slightly longer wheel base provides better stability in haulage work. The CCC concluded that the comparison of the two tractors on only a few factors is likely to mislead consumers that the Advertiser‘s product is better than the complainant‘s. The ad was misleading by omission and contravened Chapter I.4 of the Code. The complaint was upheld.

During the month of August, the CCC also received complaints against seven print ads. The complaints were received against the ads of "Whirlpool Cooking Appliances", "Massey Ferguson Tractors", "Hemor Rite", "Metro Group of Hospitals", "Graphic Era University", Best Brown Rice, Mohak Hi-tech Speciality Hospital. However, as these advertisements did not contravene ASCI‘s codes or guidelines, the complaints were not upheld.

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