171 misleading ads withdrawn at the behest of ASCI

55 advertisements were from the healthcare sector

MUMBAI: In the month of February the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) investigated complaints against 279 advertisements, of which 101 advertisements were promptly withdrawn by the advertisers on receipt of communication from ASCI. The independent Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI evaluated the remaining 178 advertisements, of which complaints against 171 advertisements were upheld.

Of these 171 advertisements, 77 belonged to the education sector, 59 belonged to the healthcare sector, six to real estate, five to visa/immigration services, five to personal care, four to the food & beverages sector, and 15 were from the ‘others’ category.

ASCI continues to see advertisements featuring celebrities falling short of adhering to “Guidelines for Celebrities in advertising”.
ASCI secretary general Shweta Purandare said, “Our guidelines for Usage of Awards/ Rankings in Advertisements that were introduced in January 2020, are proving to be a timely step in the right direction. We are educating the advertisers that self-sponsored awards and ranking are on thin ice and will not hold any more. They need to know the rigor expected in claim substantiation when referring to awards and rankings in their advertisements”.

Amongst the various advertisements that were scrutinized, CCC pulled up a misleading advertisement of a “gamified school education” app claiming it to be the biggest scholarship exam, and promising prize money worth up to Rs one crore, featuring one of Bollywood’s legendary actors. An advertisement of herbal drops endorsed by a Bollywood celebrity made a misleading claim that it can save or protect from diseases by immunity enhancement.

ASCI also saw several real estate companies making superlative / leadership claims. A few of them were specially focused on providing communities and townships for elderly people. One well-known brand while promoting their township project for seniors, made an unsubstantiated claim of being “India’s Largest Senior-Living Community”.

 A popular auto company, in a TV advertisement, depicted a pillion riding barber shaving the rider on a running motorcycle.  It showed a dangerous act with disregard for safety and challenged safe driving requirements. The advertisement contravened ASCI’s guidelines for advertisements depicting automotive vehicles.

ASCI also processed complaints against several advertisements which guaranteed “100 per cent Visa”, “100 per cent Visa Success Ratio”, “No.1 Visa Company '' either for work or education in countries which had stringent documentation mandates. Such misleading claims were likely to lead to widespread disappointment in the minds of students and job seekers.

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