113 Advertisements, including those of Unilever, Snapdeal, Godrej, Essar, Videocon, MTS and Dr Batra axed by ASCI based on complaints
According to ASCI’s release 61 advertisements, or over half the advertisement banned were for Health and Personal Care category
As many as 113 out of 144 complaints flagged by Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) were upheld in November 2014 by its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC).
Companies asked to pull out their advertisements include Hindustan Unilever Ltd.
(Lifebuoy), Richfeel Health and Beauty Pvt. Ltd., Godrej Consumer Products Ltd.
(Goodknight), Dr. Batra's Homeopathy Clinic, Jasper Infotech P. Ltd. (Snapdeal), Essar Group (The Mobile Store), Mahindra Retail Pvt. Ltd. (Mom & Me) and Renault India Private Limited.
According to ASCI’s release 61 advertisements, or over half the advertisement banned were for Health and Personal Care category. Education advertisments were the next highest (33) to be banned followed by e-commerce, telecom, automobiles, food & beverages and others.
Prominent among those banned were:
Hindustan Unilever’s Lifebuoy advertisement failed to substantiate its very precise claim of “10x more germ protection” and “10x more skin care”.
Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (Goodknight) advertisement forgot the cautionary warning in its own product literature asking for the vapourizing machine be kept away from the reach of children. The ad has a child standing too close to the vapouriser.
-Philips Electronics India Ltd (Philips Kerashine Styling Kit) was in trouble in a road safety issue – a girl in the advt stands on the rear seat of a moving vehicle ‘showcasing a complete disregard for traffic rules’.
-Richfeel Health & Beauty Pvt Ltd (RichFeel Trichology Centre) The advertisement of RichFeel Trichology Centre could not substantiate its claim of ‘best hair care brand’ and providing the ‘best hair transplant’. It was also in trouble for violating the Central Council of Homeopathy Code of Ethics Regulations, Clause II 6.1 by mentioning the names of Dr. Apoorva Shah and Dr. Ferrari and soliciting patients in the advertisement.
-Dr. Batra’s Homeopathy Clinic had multiple advertismements banned. It made several discount offers with payment options that could not be substantiated as genuine. It could also not substantiate two other complaints about its ‘revolutionary, non-surgical hair growth treatment from France’ or that ‘77% have seen results in just 8 weeks’.
-Medihoney’s advertisement claimed that tes that weight gain is a result of low metabolism and its honey increases body metabolism causing weight loss. But it could prove its claims.
- Advertisments offering magic remedies are rampant in the media and many complaints were upheld against claims for products that promise cures to a wide range of illnesses. Many of these companies claim to offer ‘organic’ or ‘ayurvedic’ products and come from barely known companies. Some claimed the ability to cure alcoholism (Amba Health Clinic), brighten skin tones (The Colors Bar), infertility (Jimmy Health Clinic, Nagmata Dawakhana, Malpani Infertility, Fortius Herbal Clinic) and even Parkinson's disease (EMC Super Specialty Hospitals Pvt. Ltd). None of them could substantiate their claims.
-Jasper Infotech , i.e Snapdeal.com had, on 6th Oct. 2014, advertised in The Times of India regarding heavy discounts on pruchases from Snapdeal. However, while purchasing the products these products were not available and were sold out or the rates were higher while clicking the buy button.
- Essar Group (The Mobile Store) claimed 0% interest EMI on products with or without credit card but was not substantiated.
- Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd made the claim that its MTS 3G Plus TM network delivered strong average speed upto 9.8 Mbps, without mentioning that this may only be under ideal conditions. This was a matter that went into litigation and ASCI’s stand was upheld.
- Complaints against Nissan Motor India Pvt. Ltd (Datsun Go) and Renault India Private Limited (Renault) advertisements were upheld for making misleading claims in the matter of insurance.
- Coca-Cola India Inc (Coca Cola)’s advertisement contravened ASCI guidelines on Supers because its radio jingle was incomprehensible when it came to its claim that it contained no fruit juice.
- Other complaints upheld in this category including those regarding advertisements from Haldiram Foods International Pvt Ltd (Haldiram Prabhuji) for an ad that claimed to offer “any 2 packs of mixtures/ bhujia are available for Rs. 100/-” (which in the absence of any disclaimers, was found to be misleading) and one from ABMiller India Ltd. (Miller Ace Non- Alcoholic Malt Beverage) for an advertizement for Miller Ace Non- Alcoholic Malt Beverage which was concluded to be a surrogate advertisement for a promotion of a liquor product – Miller Beer.
- Educational institutions usually had their advertisements banned for claiming “job guarantee” (Mahanadi Education Society -Raipur Institute Technology – RITEE), 100% employment (Arcot Sri Mahalakshmi Women's Institute of Management), assured jobs (Bright Career Academy) or claiming to be “No 1” in their respective categories. They include institutions like Ramanujan College of Management, Kerala
- Small Industry Development Corporation Ltd (Kerala SIDCO), Shri Maharana Pratap Pvt. ITI, Academy of Future Analysis (AOFA) College, SVKM’s Narsee Monjee
- Institute of Management Studies, Swami Vivekanand University, Apollo Computer Education, ACME College of Engineering, Asian Institute, S R Institute of Management Technology (SRIMT), Institute of Technology & Management (ITM) and Institute of Computerised Financial Accounting (ICFA).
- Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Company Ltd (Bajaj Allianz): The advertisement claims to provide value added services such as 24x7 spot assistance, key and lock replacement cover along with the policy, fastest claims servicing through their 24 x7 call centre etc. The advertisement also claims “3400+ numbers of garages across the country”, “offer battery, fuel, spare keys assistance flat tyres, minor repairs and towing”, provide “Legal Advice and Medical Coordination”, “Message Service and Taxi Benefits Accommodation Benefits” and “Additional savings of upto 30% on medicines, eye care, dental care and many more outlets.” None of these claims were substantiated.
- Godrej Consumer Products’ advertisement for Cinthol deodorant got banned for denigrating alcohol based deos to establish its superiority. It seemed to suggest that alcohol-based deodorants alcohol based deodorants can melt the human skin by showing ball-pen art dissolving when sprayed with an alcohol deo.
- Mahindra Retail Pvt. Ltd (Mom & Me) was pulled up for its misleading claim of “Interest free EMI” although the interest was to bepaid after six months.
- JK Wall Putty claimed "seelan mein bhipapdee ka koi chance nahin” without providing any substantiating technical evidence.
- Videocon’s Split A/C ad also claimed 0% interest and zero process fee by Bajaj Finance - just pay Rs. 2014 and the balance in equal EMIs. A complainant had to pay the extra processing charges while purchase of the product.
- Others in this catergory include advertisements from Marathon Nexzone and Aims Max Gardenia Developers Pvt Ltd (Glory 46) regarding real estate claims, Hopewell Tableware Pvt Ltd (Larah Dinnerware) for claiming to be the strongest opal ware and the first choice of vegetarians without any proof, etc.