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Tata Chemicals, HUL in ad row

MUMBAI: Tata Chemicals has said that advertising industry watchdog, ASCI, has upheld its complaint against leaflets circulated by Hindustan Unilever (HUL), said to be denigrating its water purifier brand Tata Swach.


"Violating the professional code of business, Pureit, the water
purifier brand from Hindustan Unilever, had been misleading consumers through persistent smear campaigns against Tata Swach, the water purifier from the house of Tatas," the communiqué said.


The company said the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) through Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) directed HUL to pull out leaflets from the market.


HUL retaliated by saying, “Tata Swach makes the ambiguous claim of ‘Tested for bacteria as per US EPA standards’ which can mislead consumers to believe that Tata Swach meets US EPA standards on safe drinking water.”


Suggesting a ‘safety challenge’ in Tata Swach, the leaflets claimed that Tata Swach does not protect against viruses and bacteria; neither does it have auto shut-off, nor has a sales and service network. Moreover, among other claims, the leaftet said that Tata Swach’s per-litre running cost is higher than PureIt.


"The CCC considered the technical data submitted by Tata Swach and concluded that the statement made in the leaflet circulated by Pureit denigrates Tata Swach," Tata said.


Since launching Pureit in 2008, HUL has been openly challenging rivals and consumers that its water purifier is one of a kind in offering matchless germkill water protection.


It challenges to give away Rs 100 million to any consumer who finds any other domestic water purifier meeting the safety standards of Pureit.


“Pureit meets the stringent US EPA standards for germ kill and we have made the various laboratory test results available for consumers to access easily and at all times on the Pureit website. We wish to also clarify that the promotional leaflets of Pureit against which the complaint has been made are not in use since July 2010,” HUL’s
statement added.


It further added: "We wish to also clarify that the promotional leaflets of Pureit against which the complaint has been made are not in use since July 2010."


HUL exports the Pureit brand to markets such as Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil and Bangladesh.

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