Campaign India Team
Dec 22, 2011

ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council upholds complaints against 17 ads

Eight ads were cleared as they did not contravene ASCI’s codes or guidelines

ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council upholds complaints against 17 ads

During July and August 2011, the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI upheld complaints made against 17 advertisements from various sectors like education, health, FMCG and restricted products. Eight other advertisements got away as the council did not uphold complaints against them.

Maruti Suzuki had an advertisement upheld for its Estilo Magic. The advertisement mentions the mileage of the Hyundai i10 (1.1) Era as '16 kmpl', which is incorrect. The CCC concluded that the data stated in the advertisement about the mileage of the competitor did not tally with the ARIA Certification and is false hence the TVC was upheld.

There was a complaint relating to the Bata's "Think Weinbrenner, Think Outdoors" campaign. As per the complaint, Bata was carrying out a print campaign for Weinbrenner, wherein the copy reads, “SMS Bata to 58888 to win exclusive gifts”. Acting on the line, twice, the complainant was never offered or sent any gifts. The CCC concluded that the statement, “SMS BATA…to win exclusive gifts”, was misleading as the advertisement did not state clearly all material conditions to enable the consumer to obtain a true and fair view of his prospects in such activities.

The CCC received a complaint against the advertising communication of Hindustan Unilever - Pureit Water Purifier and upheld it.The commercials made a claim of “Pureit 1 Crore safety challenge”.  The CCC considered the technical proof provided by the advertiser and the complainant and concluded that whilst Pureit “meets USA’s EPA stringent germ-kill criteria”, it is not the only one to do so. The claim, “It’s been 2 years and till date no purifier in India has been able to meet Pureit’s Safety challenge”, is misleading as this challenge is only against old generation products launched prior to December 2009. Thus, the communication creates a false impression that Pureit is the best water purifier. 

A complaint against the advertisement of Triply Stainless Steel Cookware from Glen Appliances was also upheld. The print advertisement claimed, “Is your cookware safe?  Did you know aluminum cookware can cause cancer?” According to the complainant the claims are not truthful as it has not been substantiated by any reputed international organisation such as WHO or by any country noted for a high standard of vigilance in consumer protection. The advertisement unfairly and directly denigrates attacks and discredits all aluminum cookware, and misleads the consumer about the safety of the same.

In the education sector, there were a whole set of advertisement that received complaints.

For T.I.M.E. – CAT’ 11/12, the claim “Largest student base: 1,30,000+ students trained for CAT’09 & CAT’10” was  rejected as the claim was not validated  by any third party nor the advertiser  had compared any data of other service providers in the same category. Also, the Claim, “Best faculty team in Delhi – NCR”, was not supported by any comparative data. Another claim, “Best Results: 50%+ of students in the IIMs are from T.I.M.E.”,  was not supported with any independent data, and the claim was based on 2009 and 2010 data as mentioned in the advertisement. The CCC concluded that pending the validation of the data by independent auditors, the claims were misleading and contravene Chapter I.4 of the Code and hence the complaint was upheld.

In Career  Launcher's ads, claims were not backed up and substantiated with data or evidence. The CCC concluded that pending the validation of the data by independent auditors, the claims mentioned in the advertisement and cited in the complaint are misleading.

The advertisement of Satyam claimed that '75+ Students and counting, in National Law Schools', '95% of call getters from Lucknow are Clat Possible students', among other claims. The complain was upheld for this. Another Team Satyam complaint ad that claimed, '20 IIM & 4 XLRI call getters' was upheld.

A TVC of Greenlam showed an old man going through the Catholic sacrament of baptism, and thereafter his funeral which shows a coffin made with Greenlam Laminates. The TVC was proved to be extremely offensive and mocks the Roman Catholic faith, by unnecessarily using sacraments to promote its product.  The CCC concluded that the TVC appears to trivialise conversion and thus is likely to hurt religious sentiments.

In the ad for Mosons Extractions the advertiser was asked to provide scientific evidence including clinical trials of the effectiveness of the product. The CCC concluded that the claims were not substantiated with technical data through clinical research and hence the complaint was upheld.

Hindustan Unilever Ltd‘s Dove Damage Therapy TVC claimed that Dove is the most recommended shampoo by Indian women”, is qualified by a super stating “Based on a study conducted amongst 400 women”.  It was stated that a base size of 400 is far too small to be used to support this claim and it also does not clarify the parameters for which the Dove shampoo is recommended. Also, the supers in the said advertisement are blurred and illegible and the ads were upheld. In another ad for Dove Hair Fall Rescue shampoo, the TVC claims, “No Hair Fall No Damage”, is qualified by a super stating, “No hair breakage and split ends according to the `sampling based on lab test’ when regularly used Dove Shampoo". This CCC thought this claim needed to be substantiated with independent technical data. complaint was upheld..

Procter & Gamble Home Products  Ltd‘s -  New  Ariel  Oxyblu – Deep Clean Technology's ad showed the removal of three difficult stains, namely ink, oil and tea by use of Ariel Oxyblu, whereas the claim support data mentioned in the super is for ink stains alone. The super reads “Creative visualisation.  Based on technical test by independent laboratory (Prema Labs, 2011) tested on ink stain in three different layers of polyster fabric v/s ordinary powder.  The CCC concluded that the claim read in conjunction with the visual depiction was misleading by implication and the complaint was upheld.

Lavanya Ayurvedic Hospital and Research Center stated in its print ad, that, “Cancer can be treated without radiation or chemotherapy.” The CCC, thought such a claim is misleading and that can jeopardise the lives of many people who may opt for this treatment. Without the backing of any scientific data and due to the absence of comments from the advertiser, the CCC upheld the complaint against this advertisement.

In Royal Stag's TVC there were visuals of the cricketer Harbhajan Singh on his first day in a ball bearing factory.   He was shown saying, “Have I made it large?” As per the complaint, the TVC begins with the repeated use of the word “large”, which is normally referred to as a measure of liquor and by associating it with Royal Stag, which is a liquor brand, the TVC is an overt insinuation aimed at conjuring up the image of a liquor brand and therefore the TVC is an indirect and surrogate advertisement for liquor. Despite having approvals from CBFC for using the slogan, the CCC concluded that the TVC uses the brand name and logo of a liquor product.

As per McDowell’s No.1 Platinum Soda advertisement which begins with the visuals of a Sikh boy resembling cricketer Harbhajan Singh shown sitting on a large ball and saying, “Have I made it large”.  They then show the arrival of his father and upbraiding him for making a large ball instead of ball bearings. This is followed by cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s dialogue, which goes on to say, “Zindagi mein kuchh karna hai to large chhodo.  Kuchh alag karo, yaar. McDowell’s No.1 Platinum Soda.  No.1 Spirit of Leadership”.  The TVC was proved to be a clever ploy of capitalising on the image of a liquor brand sought to be created in the TVC of “Royal Stag - Mega Cricket”, and then extrapolating it with another liquor brand “McDowell”. The use of the word 'spirit' in its tag line further enhances the image of the liquor brand and therefore the TVC was proved to be an indirect and surrogate advertisement for liquor.

One of the Ford Figo advertisements stated that the “Ford Figo leaves its competition far behind”, and has made comparison of Figo Advantage with Hyundai i10 in terms of space and maintenance. The facts used in the advertisement are based on Ford’s internal benchmarking study, and  have no independent support. In the absence of comments from the advertiser, the CCC concluded that the claims made in the advertisement were not substantiated on the basis of an independent survey, and were misleading.

The TVC for the Chevrolet Beat diesel adopted the tagline of, 'India’s most fuel efficient car'. This mislead the consumers and General Motors tried to justify the same by relying upon a stray comment in an article published in `Autocar India’ of August 2011 issue. The Beat diesel advertisement uses the tagline which is same as that used by the Tata Indica eV2 in their advertisement of being “India’s most fuel efficient car”.

Titan Industries Ltd’s Fast Track Watches advertisement showed a young woman taking off her innerwear from underneath her t-shirt and holding it out as if to discard it to promote a new offer of 20% off on watches. The advertisement is offensive to women, damaging young minds, and totally unrelated to the subject of the advertisement.

During these two months, the CCC received complaints against Samsung ACs,She Comfort, Hindustan Unilever’s Pureit Marvella eWater Purifier, IMS  Learning  Resources, McDonald’s, L’Oreal India’s Garneir Fructis, Hindustan Unilver’s Clinic All Clear and Tata Indicom among others too. These advertisements did not contravene ASCI’s codes or guidelines.

Campaign India

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