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ASCI upholds complaints against 145 advertisements

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MUMBAI: During the month ofFebruary 2019, ASCI investigated complaints against 243advertisements, of which the advertisers ensured corrective action for 63advertisements once they received the complaints from ASCI. TheConsumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI upheld complaints against 145advertisements out of 180advertisements evaluated by them. Of these 145 advertisements, 83belonged to the healthcare sector, 33 to the education sector, ten to the food & beverages sector,oneto personal care, and 18were from the ‘others’ category.

Amongst various advertisements that were examined, a significant number of advertisementswere upheld for exaggeration of product efficacy and exploiting consumers’ lack of knowledge. This was followed by violations of the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act (DMR Act). A large number of these advertisements were digital i.e. advertisers’ own web-sites carrying the objectionable claims and visuals. 

For the Food and Beverages sector, the CCC found a couple of well-known brands referring to Ayurvedic or herbal ingredients known for their memory enhancing properties; however, the associated claims were not substantiated. A popular cooking oil was making claims regarding the oil being “Lite” and “Less absorbent” without any robust technical support data.An A-2 cow milk brand was projecting its products to have some unique immunity benefits or miraculous effects that were not substantiated by any scientific rationale or clinical evidence. Additionally, a couple of brands were making improper use of the FSSAI logo implying that the product has been tested/approved/endorsed by FSSAI. This was also in violation of the FSSAI advisory against such use which is not in the prescribed format.

Shweta Purandare, Secretary General, ASCI said, “Over the last one year, in the Food and Beverage sector alone, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council examined over 300 advertisements for misleading claims. This was a result of the co-regulation model under which FSSAI had given ASCI a mandate for comprehensive Suo Motu surveillance of potentially misleading advertisements in print media and television. Such arrangement provides a win-win for stakeholders wherein self-regulatory organizations ensure a better advertising ecosystem and the regulators can intervene only when necessary, thus bringing synergies in efficiency”. 

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