In October and November 2018, ASCI investigated complaints against 389 advertisements, of which the advertisers ensured corrective action for 112 advertisements as soon as they received the complaints from ASCI. ASCIâ€™s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 232 advertisements from a total of 277 advertisements evaluated by them. Of these 232 advertisements, 95 belonged to the education sector, 53 to the healthcare sector, 36 to the food & beverages sector, 23 to personal care, and 20 were from the â€˜othersâ€™ category. Five advertisements violated BARC Guidelines.
Amongst various advertisements that were examined, the CCC observed that, a renowned cricketer endorsing a bike brand shown driving rashly and violating traffic rules, manifesting a disregard for safety. In addition to this, a famous celebrity was found to endorse a shampoo claiming to keep hair non-stop fresh for up to 72 hours. In another advertisement a celebrity was endorsing a well-known brand of glasses promising that the product blocks harmful blue rays from digital media unlike other glasses.
A significant number of complaints looked into by the CCC pertained to Food and Beverage sector. The most common reason for upholding complaints were unsubstantiated and exaggerated claims that exploit consumersâ€™ lack of knowledge. It was also observed that the advertisements had unsubstantiated leadership claims, improper use of FSSAI logo in contravention of the FSSAI advisory, organic claims, disparagement of healthy eating habits as well as surrogate advertisements.
D Shivkumar, Chairman, ASCI, said, â€œASCI and FSSAI recently concluded their second year of collaboration via an MOU. FSSAI had given ASCI a mandate for comprehensive Suo Moto surveillance of potentially misleading advertisements in the F&B sector. Over 200 misleading advertisements have been looked into by the CCC and their compliance status was updated to FSSAI. This co-regulation model has been quite effective in ensuring compliance and was recently also referred in a Rajya Sabha question.â€
The following advertisements were in violation of ASCIâ€™s Guidelines forÂ Celebrities in Advertising. The advertisers did not provide any evidence to show that the celebrities did due diligence prior to lending their name for the endorsements, to ensure that all description, claims and comparisons made in the advertisement are capable of substantiation:
Hero MotoCorp Ltd (Hero Xtreme 200r):Â In the advertisement, cricketer Virat Kohli is seen driving rashly in normal traffic conditions. The advertisement portrays violation of traffic rules, shows dangerous practices and manifests disregard for safety. The advertisement showed speed manoeuvrability in a manner which encourages unsafe or reckless driving which could harm the driver and general public.Â The TVC contravened Chapter III.3 of the ASCI Code and Clauses (a) (b) and (c) of the ASCI Guidelines for Advertisements depicting Automotive Vehicles.
Lâ€™Oreal India Pvt Ltd. (L’Oreal Extraordinary Clay Shampoo):Â The advertisementâ€™s claim, â€œThe power of pure clay in shampooâ€ is inadequately substantiated as it lacked specific scientific evaluation showing the effectiveness of clay and is misleading by ambiguity and implication. For the claim â€œkeeps hair non-stop fresh for up to 72 hoursâ€ the advertiser did not provide appropriate scientific evaluation to substantiate the claim, hence is misleading by ambiguity and exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
L’Oreal India P. Ltd. (Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water):Â The advertisement with celebrity Alia Bhat claimed, â€œMakeup off in just one swipe,â€ which was not substantiated. The claim is misleading by exaggeration, and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. The advertiser did not provide any testimonials, or any evidence of the consent of the celebrity for the product efficacy claims.
Buy Happy Marketing LLP (VIP Natural Hair Colour Shampoo):Â The advertisement shows celebrity Vivek Oberoi applying the product with his bare hands, and saying â€œGloves ki zaroorat hi nahin,â€ the claim was not substantiated with any technical test reports and is misleading by ambiguity and implication. The instructions in product leaflet mention â€œUse gloves when requiredâ€, while the pack says â€œcan be applied with wet bare handsâ€ are contradictory. Also, the claim â€œ5 in 1 benefit i.e. application on head, moustache, beard, chest and handâ€ was not substantiated with any safety test reports. The advertiser did not provide any evidence of the celebrityâ€™s due diligence, hence violating the ASCI Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising.
Food & Beverage
ITC Limited (Sunfeast Yippee Powerup Masala Noodles):Â The advertisementâ€™s claim â€œAtta Noodlesâ€ is misleading by omission and exploits consumersâ€™ lack of knowledge as the product also contains â€œRefined Wheat Flourâ€ (Maida) quantity of which has not been declared in the ingredient list on the product pack.
Pernod Ricard India (Blenders Pride Music CDs):Â The advertisement features a man wearing a suit, holding a cricket ball while the tagline reads: â€œItâ€™s Never Too Early to create a legacy. Be Ages Ahead.â€ The advertisement is a surrogate advertisement for promotion of a liquor product â€“ Seagramâ€™s Blenders Pride and is misleading by implication.
The following advertisements were considered to be misleading and also likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
Procter & Gamble Hygiene & Health Care Limited (Head & Shoulders Anti-Dandruff Shampoo):Â In 3 advertisements – Print, Digital and Point of sale, the claim, â€œKeeps you up to 100% dandruff freeâ€ requires the adjective â€œup toâ€ to have an equal emphasis in the super, in terms of font size, weight as well as colour, shape / bold characters, as it is an important descriptor for the claim to hold true. The advertisementâ€™s claim gives the impression that it is able to provide â€œ100% dandruff freeâ€ hair which is misleading and it contravened Chapters I.4 and I.5 of the ASCI Code and the ASCI Guidelines on disclaimers in advertising.
Procter & Gamble Hygiene & Health Care Limited (Head & Shoulders Anti-Dandruff Shampoo):Â The print advertisementâ€™s claim, â€œDandruff free smooth baal, Rs 2 ka kamaalâ€ is misleading by implication that the product would be effective with a single use of a sachet. â€œDandruff freeâ€ claim was not substantiated for â€œsingle sachet useâ€ for Basic Smooth variant and is inconsistent with the disclaimer recommending regular use for efficacy.
GlaxoSmithKline Asia (Sensodyne Toothpaste):Â The advertisementâ€™s claims, â€œThatâ€™s Why Dentist Recommendedâ€ and â€œEight out of 10 dentists recommend Sensodyne for sensitive teethâ€ were not adequately substantiated. The findings of the dentist survey of 2015 showed that 80% of the dentists recommended Sensodyne toothpaste to their patients suffering from dentine hypersensitivity.Â This data is considered outdated since it did not correspond to the current or the previous calendar year. The claim is misleading by implication.
Netmeds Marketplace Limited:Â The advertisementâ€™s claim, â€œNetmeds-the pharmacy with over 100 years of experienceâ€, was neither substantiated with supporting evidence of the commencement of their business in pharmaceuticals field to prove 100 years of experience, nor did they provide any independent audit or verification certificate.
Ayushakti Ayurved Pvt Ltd (Diabetox):Â The advertisementâ€™s claims, â€œControls sugar naturallyâ€, â€œReduces dependency of other medicationsâ€, and testimonials of Mr. Shashi and Mrs. Anuradha whose photographs have been shown in the advertisement as having benefitted from the treatment, were not substantiated with treatment efficacy data.
FIITJEE LTD:Â The advertisementâ€™s claims, â€œNobody can compare with our results in JEE Advanced/ IIT-JEE, JEE Main, Boards, KYPY, Olympiads, NSEJS & NTSEâ€, â€œNo one can beat our expertise- Our 26 years of unblemished record is filled with excellence and extraordinarinessâ€, and â€œWe are the only institute capable of training faculty for not just IIT-JEE/ JEE advanced but also for JEE Main, Boards, KYPY, Olympiads & NTSE. Other institutes have tried and failed miserablyâ€, were not substantiated with verifiable comparative data, or through a third party validation.
Landmark Immigration:Â The advertisementâ€™s claim, â€œ95% success rate*â€, was not substantiated with third party validation or verifiable supporting data to prove their 95% success in enabling immigration for their students to study abroad. The claim, â€œNo. 1 Consultant in India for Canadian and USA Collegesâ€, was not substantiated with third party validation or verifiable comparative data.
The following five advertisements violated the BARC Guidelines; BARC Guidelines require that for any leadership claim, the period of comparison must cover at least four consecutive weeks, and at least four consecutive clock hours of data. The leadership claims in all five cases were based on two consecutive hours instead of four, and hence violated the BARC Guidelines.
ARG Outlier Media (Republic TV):Â In the advertisement mailer dated 24th August, Republic TV has made leadership claim under Single Event Reporting.
ARG Outlier Media (Republic TV):Â In the advertisement mailer dated 31st August, Republic TV has made leadership claim under Single Event Reporting.
ARG Outlier Media (Republic TV):Â In the advertisement mailer dated 6th September, Republic TV has made leadership claim under Single Event Reporting.
ARG Outlier Media (Republic TV):Â In the advertisement mailer dated 14th September, â€œRepublic TV has made leadership claim under Single Event Reporting.
ARG Outlier Media (Republic TV):Â In the advertisement mailer dated 20th September, Republic TV has made leadership claim under Single Event Reporting.
Hindustan Unilever Ltd (Vim Anti Smell Bar):Â The advertisementâ€™s claim, “New Vimâ€ was misleading as the product with this formulation was launched in mid-2017. The advertisement was published in August 2018. Hence, the advertisement is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
LG Washing Machine:Â In the advertisement, the Ad â€“ sticker displayed on the product (washing machine), did not provide details of the LG rat away technology used in their semi-automatic machine which keeps the rats away, thus preventing any harm to the machine. Additionally, the claim of â€œIndiaâ€™s Firstâ€ was not substantiated with comparative data.
Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (GoodKnight Patches):Â The advertisementâ€™s claim, â€œ100% Naturalâ€, is misleading by implication and omission. The claim does not mention that this claim is limited to only the active ingredients.
SUO MOTO Surveillance by ASCI
The following advertisements were in violation of ASCIâ€™s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising. The advertisers did not provide any evidence to show that the celebrities did due diligence prior to lending their name for the endorsements, to ensure that all claims, description and comparisons made in the advertisements are capable of substantiation, nor did the advertiser submit any testimonials or any evidence of the consent of the celebrity before endorsement:
Lenskart.com (Lenskart Blu Smartphone Lenses):Â The advertisementâ€™s claim, â€œAankhe toh thakengi hiÂ …kyunki digital screens Mein hoti hain harmful blue lightâ€¦ Jo na ruke ordinary lenses seâ€¦Na anti-glare seâ€¦ Ruke to sirf lenskart blue lenses seâ€¦â€ was not substantiated with reliable evidence that digital screens emit blue light and its exposure is harmful to users. The advertiser did not submit any comparative data to prove the effectiveness of the Lenskart Blue Lens in obstructing the harmful blue light of the digital screen, compared to regular lenses and antiglare lenses. Also, the visual of Katrina Kaif urging customers to visit the Lenskart store for a Lenskart Blue demo when seen in conjunction with the claims is likely to mislead consumers regarding the product efficacy.
Rasna International Pvt. Ltd (Native Hatt Aampanna):Â The advertisementâ€™s claim, â€œNo chemicals, preservativesâ€, was not substantiated with supporting data showing absence of any chemicals in the product. The claim is misleading by exaggeration, and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. The advertiser did not provide any evidence to show that celebrity Kareena Kapoor had done any due diligence.
The CCC found claims in the advertisements by following 19 advertisers that were not substantiated and thus, in violation of ASCI Guidelines for Advertising for Educational Institutions:Â Swami Vivekanand Center, Excellence Classes, and LNCT University.
Dabur India Limited (Dabur Honitus Syrups):Â The advertisementâ€™s claims, â€œChemical Freeâ€ and â€œSahi hai, kyunki chemicals nahi haiâ€ are misleading by omission that they are in reference to only allopathic actives. The claim â€œSahi hai, kyunki chemicals nahi haiâ€ unfairly denigrated other cough syrup brands containing allopathic ingredients which are legally permitted to be marketed in India.
Dr. Batras Positive Health Clinic (Geno Homeopathy):Â The advertisementâ€™s claims, â€œTreatment for today + Prevention for tomorrowâ€ and â€œPrevents the risk of any hereditary illness through timely treatmentâ€, were not substantiated and are misleading by exaggeration. The Gene based treatment cannot be termed as pure Homoeopathy as diagnosis and treatment in homoeopathy is based on history of the patient and signs and symptoms. Also, Geno Homoeopathy is not recognized branch in India.
Dr. Batraâ€™s Positive Health Clinic:Â The advertisementâ€™s claims (in Hindi) as translated in English, â€œComplete solution to hairâ€ and â€œComplete solution to skinâ€, were not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence or treatment efficacy data.Â Efficacies being depicted via images of before and after the treatment are misleading and imply cure from baldness and white spots (vitiligo).
Food & Beverage
Rex (U&A) Remedies Pvt LtdÂ â€“ Food product (Heartorex Syrup):Â The advertisementâ€™s claim, â€œHum Heartorex pite hai, jo cholesterol ghata ta hai, blood ko patla karta hai, aur blockage bhi ghathi hai.â€,Â Voice over claim, â€œHeart rate ko normalize karta hai aur high blood pressure ko kam karta haiâ€ implies that by consumption of the product there would be no chance of a heart attack and was not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence of product efficacy, and is misleading.
Sri Anagha Refineries Private Limited (Sun Premium Refined Sunflower Oil):Â The advertisementâ€™s claim, â€œPrestigious rising brand of India award for the best in quality and fastest rising brandâ€, was not substantiated with copy of the award certificate, details of the criteria for granting the award, references of the award received such as the year, source and category.
Hindustan Unilever Ltd (Ponds Oil Control Face Wash):Â The advertisementâ€™s claim, (in Kannada), â€œAll day oil controlâ€ was inadequately substantiated and is misleading by implication. The claim â€œcontrolâ€ implies maintenance of sebum level at a particular fixed value whereas, the product is demonstrating â€œreductionâ€ in sebum and not â€œcontrolâ€ over the 12 hour period. The claim is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
Vcare Herbal Concepts (P) Limited (Vcare Shampoo Hair Colour):Â The advertisementâ€™s claim, â€œUnlike others it does not have harmful substance like PPD that causes allergy, rashes, dermatitis and can also cause cancerâ€, was not substantiated with any evidence and product efficacy data.
Maa Herbals (Maa Herbal Hair Oil):Â The advertisementâ€™s claims, â€œRich Source of Vitamin E stimulates hair growthâ€, â€œCures Hair Lossâ€, â€œPrevents migraine attacksâ€, and â€œHelps in blood pressure controlâ€, were not substantiated with evidence of product efficacy.
Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd:Â The advertisementâ€™s claim, â€œRs 1 crore invested in value strategy has grown to Rs 25.09 crore in just 15 yearsâ€, was misleading by omission of appropriate disclaimers.
Pitambari Klenz Nanowash:Â The advertisementâ€™s claim, â€œ24 hour protection from Bacteriaâ€, was inadequately substantiated, and is misleading by exaggeration.
Phoenix Agencies (Aqua Phoenix Water Purifier):Â The advertisementâ€™s claims, â€œNo.1 RO Water Purification Systemâ€, and â€œMost Reliableâ€, were not substantiated with a third party validation or any verifiable comparative data to prove that it is in leadership position (No.1) and more reliable than the rest. The source for the claim of being â€œNo.1â€ was not indicated in the advertisement.