Citizens' Issues
ASCI bans 98 ads, including Godrej, Patanjali, Parle, Amul, ibibo, Uber, Policybazaar, Paytm, Havells, Kent, LG, Renault in June
Educational advertisements remained at the top of the number of complaints received by Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) during June 2016 followed by health and personal care, food and beverages and e-commerce categories.
 
The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of the (ASCI) has banned as many as 98 advertisements out of 159 complaints it received across segments during June 2016.
 
The banned ads are from prominent companies like Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (Cinthol Deo Stick), Athena Life Sciences Pvt Ltd (Hair for Sure), Patanjali Ayurved Ltd (Dant Kanti, Patanjali Juices and Energy Bar), Parle Products Pvt. Ltd. (Bakesmith Original English Marie biscuit), Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Limited (Amul Epic Choco Almond), Uber India Systems Pvt Ltd (Uber Moto - flat Rs10 offer), Policybazaar Insurance Web Aggregator Pvt Ltd (Policybazaar.com - Bike Insurance), One 97 Communications Ltd (PayTM), and Kent RO Systems Ltd (Kent Superb Water Purifiers) among others, they range from FMCGs to autos, personal accessories to alcohol, and education to media.
 
“...Out of 98 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 39 belonged to the Education category, 25 in the Healthcare & Personal Care category, followed by 11 in the Food & Beverages category, six in Ecommerce category and 17 advertisements from other categories,” ASCI said in a release.
 
Here are the ads that were banned by ASCI during June 2016…
 
HEALTH & PERSONAL CARE
 
Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. (Cinthol Deo Stick): The advertisement’s claim,“3X longer” is not substantiated and is misleading by ambiguity and exaggeration as the advertisement indicates the product to be 3X better than all deodorants (all formats), while the product has been tested against only two marketed products. These products do not represent the major market leaders/players and all the Deo product formats.
 
Athena Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd. (Hair for Sure): The advertisement’s claim, “Meeri maniye Main ek Trichologist – Baaloan ka doctor, Isiliye I recommend Hair for Sure”, of a trichologist endorsing the product was not substantiated and was considered to be misleading by implication as the World Medical Trichologists Association (WMTA) certificate submitted by the advertiser only supports product quality and the certificate categorically states that it is not an endorsement for the product claim. Also, the claim, “Isme hai Rutexil – Ek breakthrough comprehensive regrowth complex. Effectively regrows hair from the roots”, was not adequately substantiated with clinical evidence. The claim, when read in conjunction with the visuals in the TVC showing significant regrowth of hair on bald patches, was considered to be grossly misleading. The supers in the Hindi TVC were not in the same language as the audio of the TVC. 
 
Athena Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd. (Hair for Sure): The advertisement’s claim, ‘‘stop hair loss” was considered to be false as some hair fall is natural and cannot be stopped. The claim was misleading by exaggeration. Furthermore, for the advertisement’s claims, “Hair Regrowth Treatment” and “Begin Hair growth”, the in vitro data submitted regarding the constituents stated that the constituents do help in hair growth. However, there was no evidence that this data is extrapolatable to in vivo situation to support hair regrowth claim. The change in Anagen/Telogen ratio does not essentially translate into growth of hair into bald areas.  Based on the photograding scores, these claims were not substantiated with efficacy of the product and are misleading. Also the advertisement’s claim, “Reutexil-The new era in hair regrowth treatment”, was not substantiated with clinical evidence and is misleading. In addition, the advertisement’s claims, “Growth Stimulant”, “Anti Fibrotic”, “Anti Inflammatory” and “anti Oxidative”, are based on ingredient specific in vitro data. These claims were not substantiated for in vivo situation for the ingredient levels present in the product.  The claims being presented on the pack as a product efficacy attribute were misleading by ambiguity and implication. 
 
Athena Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd. (Hair for Sure): The advertisement’s claim, “Extensive In-Vitro and Clinical Trials have been conducted on Hair for Sure Hair Tonic to validate the efficacy of the regimen to regrow hair.” was not adequately substantiated for the “Regrowth” aspect of the claim for in vivo situation. The claim stating that the studies were conducted to “validate the efficacy of the regimen to regrow hair” was considered to be misleading by ambiguity and implication. Furthermore the advertisement’s claim, “A 3.45 X times better in improving hair growth when compared to Market Leading Hair Regrowth Product priced at Rs. 650.” is incorrect to say that the mean photograding score of hair for sure is 3.45 times more on day 30th and 2.48 times more  at the end of 60 day than the market leader tested against (Livon). Also, the advertisement’s claim, “Hair for Sure Increased Anagen/Telogen ratio significantly by 50.8% more compared to market leading brand in 45 days. Hair for Sure increases A/T ratio significantly 73.4 % from base line in 45 days.” is incorrect to say that the increase in the mean score of A/T ratio due to Hair for Sure is significantly more than the Comparitive treatment. In addition, the claim, “Hair for Sure increased percentage of Anagen Hair (growing hair) by 16.5% in 45 days. Human scalp has average hair count of 100,000. Considering this after applying Hair for Sure – Hair Tonic for 45 days twice a day, 16,500 (16.5%) non-growing hair would start re-growing.” was considered to be misleadingas the increase of 16.5% in anagen number cannot be interpreted as non-growing hair start regrowing. The advertisement’s claim, “It is first in India to be approved by World Medical Trichologist Association (WMTA)” was considered to be misleading by omission, ambiguity and implication as the WMTA certificate only supports product quality and the certificate categorically states that it is not an endorsement for the product claim. The advertisement’s claim, “clinically proven to help hair growth, clinically proven to accelerate hair growth, and clinically proven to stimulate Hair Growth” are based on the photograding scores, these claims were not substantiated with efficacy of the product and are misleading. Also, the advertisement’s claim, “No. 1 hair regrowth treatment *As on Amazon”, was not adequately substantiated and was considered to be misleading by ambiguity as this claim was based on product entries as available on Amazon. However, no authentic evidence for the same was provided. 
 
Athena Life Science Pvt.  Ltd. (Just for Moms Maternity Stretch Marks Prevention Lotion): The advertisement’s claim, “Tested and Gynaecologist approved” was not substantiated with relevant data as the test was for skin irritation potential carried out in males and non-pregnant female subjects. The claim was considered to be misleading by implication that the testing is for product efficacy. Also, the advertisement’s claim, “Helps reduce stretch marks” was not substantiated and is misleading.
 
FOOD & BEVERAGES
 
Patanjali Ayurved Limited (Patanjali Juices): The advertisement’s claim, “Will you still drink expensive fruit juices with less fruit pulp or drink cheaper Patanjali fruit juices with more fruit pulp for good health and more saving”, was not substantiated and is grossly misleading.  Also, the claims unfairly denigrated the class/category of fruit juices.
 
Patanjali Ayurved Limited (Patanjali Energy Bar): The claim in the advertisement, “Chocolate ki bhuri aadat se chutkara payein”, was not substantiated and is misleading.  Also, the claim unfairly denigrated the entire class/category of chocolates.
 
MSG All Trading International Pvt. Ltd. (MSG Products): The claims (in Hindi) that “all other food items contain poison and pesticides” were not substantiated with supporting evidence. Also, the claims are misleading by exaggeration and implication that consumption of other food is dangerous or hazardous, and unfairly denigrated the category of food items. 
 
Kamla Kant & Company LLP (Rajshree Pan Masala): The advertisement of Rajshree Pan Masala features Anu Kapoor – a celebrity from the field of cinema for a product which has a health warning “Pan Masala is injurious to health” and which cannot be purchased or used by minors. The celebrity in the advertisement would have a significant influence on minors who are likely to emulate the celebrity in using the product. Hence the advertisement contravened Chapter III.2 (e) of the ASCI Code, which specifically states that advertisements “Should not feature personalities from the field of sports and entertainment for products which, by law, require a health warning such as “Panmasala is injurious to health” in their advertising or packaging.” Also, the supers/statutory warning in the Hindi TVC were not legible and not in the same language as the audio of the TVC.
 
Parle Products Pvt. Ltd. (Bakesmith Original English Marie biscuit): In the advertisement, quoting the story of a fictitious character and claiming the product to be “original English” Marie is misleading.
 
EDUCATION
 
LBS Institute of Management & Technology: The advertisement’s claim,  “Excellent Placements in Top Companies for last 19 years”, was not substantiated and is misleading.
 
Hierank Business School: The advertisement’s claim, “B-School with Record Placement between Four Lacs & Eight Lacs Package”, was not substantiated and is misleading.
 
ITM Business School: The advertisement’s claims, “Highest Package: Rs. 13.50 Lac”, and “Average CTC: Rs. 6.80 Lac”, were not substantiated and are misleading.
 
IMS Unison University: The advertisement’s claim, “Over 90% Placement consistently in last three years”, was not substantiated and is misleading.
 
Indore Indira Group (Indore Indira Business School): The advertisement’s claim, “200+ Recruiters, 2000+ Placements Domestic, 150+ Placements Overseas”, was not substantiated and is misleading.
 
E-COMMERCE
 
ibibo Group Private Limited  (Goibibo.com Refer and Earn scheme): The claim offer, “Refer Friends to download app & get free hotel night stay for 1st referral + 1000 goCash”, is misleading by ambiguity and implication as in reality, the advertiser is only giving a Rs.1000 discount for that one night stay. 
 
Uber India Systems Private Limited   (Uber Moto - flat Rs.10 offer): The claim offer, “Uber Moto - flat rate of Rs.10”, was misleading by omission of the validity period.
 
Naaptol Online Shopping Pvt. Ltd. (Body Massage Cum Fat Burner): The advertisement’s claim, “local fat and cellulitis loss”, was not substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration.
 
Policy bazaar Insurance Web Aggregator Private Limited (Policybazaar.com - Bike Insurance): The advertisement shows a situation wherein the two wheeler insurance is expired. The need of having the insurance is indicated in the event a policeman catches a person without insurance. It was concluded that the advertisement is misleading consumers to believe that they need not worry about lapsed policy and is encouraging negligence.
 
Printvenue (Printvenue.com): The advertisement’s claim, “flat 50% off on your first order valid on all products”, is misleading by ambiguity as though the main claim says that 50% offer is valid on all products, the terms and conditions state that maximum discount of Rs.500 per order is applicable on selected products.. 
 
OTHERS
 
Havells India Ltd. (Havells Standard Fans): The advertisement’s claims, “Best in the Industry Air delivery” and “standard fans build to deliver more air”, were not substantiated. These claims imply better performance versus other products in the market and are misleading as this comparison is not factual as the advertiser has not given any comparative test data against other industry products to prove superiority of their product over others. There is likelihood of the consumer being misled about the product advertised. It was also disagreed with the advertiser’s contention of the claim being puffery.
 
Kent RO Systems Ltd. (Kent Superb Water Purifiers): In the advertisement of Kent Superb the claim, “World’s 1st” Smart RO Water Purifier, is false, not substantiated and is grossly misleading.
 
LG Electronics India Ltd.  (LG Smart Inverter  Refrigerator): The claims in the advertisement, “New Smart Invertor Compressor”,  “Saves upto 48 percent Energy”,  “Dual fridge”,  “100 percent faster conversion from freezer to fridge”,  “Auto smart connect” and “Consumes Power less than 2 CFL Bulbs”, were not substantiated with technical data, and are misleading by ambiguity.   
 
Renault India Pvt. Ltd. (Renault Lodgy): The advertisement’s claim, “Renault Lodgy – India’s No.1 MPV”, was not substantiated with market share sales data, and is misleading.
 
Asian Paints Ltd. (Royale Aspira): The contest claim, “SMS 'Aspira' to 56161 and win an all-expenses- paid trip to Singapore for two”, is misleading by omission of a disclaimer qualifying the conditions under which this claim offer is tenable.

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COMMENTS

Mehernosh Dordi

5 months ago

These may not be the only ones. ASCI has a lot more work to do.

Ravindra Shetye

5 months ago

At least I saw for the first time that the Authority has taken action. Good start and very much needed in our country where people are easily swayed by false advertisement. There are many more candidates like hair implant, no hair loss and so on.
Actually there should also be a reasonably large (Rs. 10 lacs or so?) fine on the Company and maybe Rs 1.0 lacs on the Advertising Agency for the actions to be really effective. Also what about the celebrities who ENDORSE the Product?

Shailender Ahuja

5 months ago

What about toothpaste ads having fake doctors in that ...

Krishna Marathe

5 months ago

Its good move, all want to oppose patanjali add but it's self boomerang to other FMCG , most affected brand s will be other than patanjali beaCuse patanjali is less depend on ads.

Krishna Marathe

5 months ago

Also need ban on misleading ads of children products, like chocolate s, biscuits,.....

S G Kumar

5 months ago

It is good to know that some agency is watching these ads and companies are being held accountable. Just banning the ad alone will not help. There should be some action against these, at least same ad with the actual facts should be published.

Internet search engines block info on sex determination tests
The government on Monday informed the Supreme Court that the three major search engines -- Microsoft, Google and Yahoo -- have agreed to block ads commercially promoting sex determination tests.
 
The government told the bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice C. Nagappan on Monday that in compliance with the provisions of the statue prohibiting pre-natal sex determination tests, the facility to access information on such tests by using certain keywords stands blocked.
 
The apex court was also given a list of the keywords, which can no more be used for accessing information on sex determination tests.
 
The bench said that the search engines would have an in-house mechanism to block access to advertisements on sex determination tests through keywords, and the same would be conveyed to it.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Unspent money for Dalits/ tribals, USD 42.6 bn = 8 times agri budget
It was raining heavily last monsoon when Heerabai's youngest child, Seshkumari, 4, collapsed with a fever. The family could only watch helplessly as her temperature soared and she turned delirious late night.
 
The nearest primary health centre for Pachkol, Heerabai's village in Chhindwara district in south-west Madhya Pradesh, is 25 km away. And every monsoon, the swollen Bhagbhel river floods the road linking the village to the health centre. If you fall sick, said residents, you have very little hope of finding any medical help.
 
"My daughter couldn't even recognise us as the fever got worse at two in the morning," recalled Heerabai, 30, lean and noticeably weak. That morning, she lost her daughter.
 
Heerabai and her three surviving children belong to Bhariya community, classified as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG). Her tragedy is the consequence of a 44% shortfall in the healthcare infrastructure in the tribal areas of Madhya Pradesh. This is despite the fact that, last year, the state government had left in hand Rs4,000 crore allocated for tribal welfare.
 
IndiaSpend's investigations, through a series of right-to-information (RTI) requests, reveal that over the last 35 years, Rs2.8 lakh crore ($42.6 billion) set aside to improve the lives of scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs) by way of measures like mid-day meals, scholarships and crop insurance was simply not spent.
 
NITI Aayog, which monitors these funds, verified the figures calculated by IndiaSpend. However, CEO Amitabh Kant distanced the organisation from the issue of inadequate fund utilisation. "We are just (the) monitoring agency for the funds and it's the states and ministries that have to spend more. But we will step up the monitoring and the present government is working on it," he told IndiaSpend.
 
The unspent amount -- either lapsed or given back to the Centre -- is eight times larger than India's agriculture budget, enough to fund India's rural road construction projects for the next 15 years, and larger than the gross domestic product of Serbia, Nepal or Jordan. If India were to distribute the Rs 2.8 lakh crore among all of India's 250 million STs and SCs, each would get Rs 11,289.
 
The unspent Rs2.8 lakh crore falls under two funds: Tribal Sub Plan (TSP), started in 1974-75, and Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP), begun in 1979-80, to channelise funds from general budgets to STs and SCs.
 
As per guidelines, a part of the budget -- proportionate to at least the population of SCs and STs -- at both central and state levels is to be set aside for these marginalised sections. The current population of SCs and STs in India is 16.6 per cent and 8.6%. So, 16.6% and 8.6% of the Union budget should be allocated to SCSP and TSP, respectively. The same applies to the states too.
 
Not just that, each ministry, whether state or central, has to keep aside the same percentage of their total funds for SCSP and TSP to carry out individual, family or habitat development works and welfare schemes for SCs and STs.
 
For instance, the Human Resource Development Ministry has to set apart funds under the two strategies for building schools, providing nutritious meals and scholarships and other similar measures for SCs and STs. Similarly, the Agriculture Ministry has to set aside funds for providing subsidised seeds and fertilisers and crop insurance to SC and ST farmers.
 
The funds are "non-lapsable" as per the guidelines issued in 2006 and 2014 by the erstwhile Planning Commission, now NITI Aayog. But low spending has crippled the effort. Records show that no matter which party is in power, SCs and STs rarely benefit from these funds.
 
While Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab top the list for SCSP funds remaining unspent for 2005-14, Jharkhand, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh lead in TSP.
 
Also, the percentage of unspent amount is alarmingly high. For instance, it is as high as 61% or Rs 4,643 crore for Telangana in 2014-15. The real unspent amount will be even higher, because data on expenditure are not available for many years with the various governments.
 
P.S. Krishnan, a bespectacled 83-year-old retired IAS officer and former Secretary to the Government of India, was the man behind the introduction of SCSP in 1980. He spoke animatedly about how former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi cut through red-tape by issuing a letter to roll out the strategy.
 
Krishnan's face darkened as he talked of its tardy implementation. "Politicians and bureaucrats have always remained apathetic to the most backward classes -- dalits and adivasis," he said.
 
In the letter announcing SCSP in 1980, Indira Gandhi wrote: "While they constitute 15% of the total population of the country, their proportion is much larger in the poverty groups of the country, most of the SCs are below the poverty line."
 
Thirty-six years on, the situation has not changed much.
 
Adivasis and dalits still matter the least when it comes to the provision of even basic facilities like household ownership, electricity, latrines and water connections. Where they do figure prominently are in statistics relating to child mortality, school dropouts and extreme poverty.
 
For instance, the child mortality rate among STs (35.8) is almost double in comparison to all social groups (18.4).
 
In the house next to Heera's two-room tenement, an electric bulb hangs from the roof, but it's filled with kerosene. It has a wick instead of a filament. Actually, Pachkol, with all its woes, is marginally better off than Jad, a village about a three-hour trek away. It has no electricity, water supply or roads.
 
How do the villagers travel? "We ride her and even take the ill to hospital on her," says teenager Sriram, pointing to Kalli, his bay mare. Jad also has rusty electric poles, over a decade old. They stand without any wiring, an election promise that was never fulfilled.
 
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has not changed the 35-year pattern of neglecting to spend the funds. 
 
As per the guidelines, the funds that remain unspent at the end of a financial year are supposed to be transferred to a non-lapsable central pool to be used later. But that, actually, is not what happens.
 
"The concept of transfer of unutilised TSP funds to NLCPTF (central pool of TSP funds) remained a non-starter," the Comptroller and Auditor General had noted in a 2015 audit report of TSP funds.
 
A senior NITI Aayog official, who spoke to IndiaSpend on condition of anonymity, confirmed that unspent funds are being "lapsed", not carried forward to the next year as per rules. "The committee is informed that there has been 'poor utilisation' of the allocated funds for welfare of SCs and STs," says NITI Aayog in its latest guidelines to the states.
 
In January 2016, with only three months left for the financial year to end, the Karnataka Chief Minister warned officials of strict action against some departments for keeping the expenditure as low as "0.87%".
 
Outside Heera's home, a group of villagers had gathered. They were reluctant to speak up about their lives. One man, however, disagreed with the silence: "We need to talk about our problems; only then, they will be solved."
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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COMMENTS

Hemant Chitale

5 months ago

Unbelievable. These fund could have, over the decades, benefited the lives of the underprivileged significantly, probably as much if not more than, reservations for education and jobs.

Deepak Narain

5 months ago

Facts speak for themselves. You should be satisfied with rising growth rates, let the poor and helpless go to hell. Funds allocated for their welfare remain unutilized, yet no responsibility, no accountability and no punishment. After all, ours is a democracy with freedom to loot as they like.

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