Anant Rangaswami
Mar 02, 2011

Opinion: ASCI, prove me wrong, prove you’ve got teeth

One would have thought, one would have hoped, that IIPM’s wanton run was over. It’s far from.

Opinion: ASCI, prove me wrong, prove you’ve got teeth

Mahesh Peri has fought a long, hard battle in the area of misleading advertising of educational institutes and what they offer and deliver.

Much earlier, Rashmi Bansal fought a battle singlehandedly.

Both of them were provoked by a common ‘enemy’, if you will, IIPM.

Rather than try and tell their story myself, I’ll reproduce what Rob Fernandes wrote about both their battles: “In 2005, as a media watcher, I keenly followed the raging battle between Rashmi Bansal of the Jam magazine and IIPM, a big time spender in Indian Media. I watched with horror the bullying that IIPM indulged in and the scandalous blogs that were opened up by IIPM bullies to put down the modesty of a woman, especially in countries like India. And I was indeed pleased by the blogosphere taking up cudgels on behalf of Rashmi and silencing the bullies of IIPM.

History is set to repeat again. The detailed investigation that Careers360 magazine published by Mahesh Peri is now well known. More than 30000 links have opened up based on this article alone. Not one to stop the investigation, the magazine continued the investigation and has exposed IIPM’s fake MBA degree given by IMI, Belgium which acts completely in cohorts with IIPM. They further went ahead and published the report submitted by the registrar of the university of Uttarakhand damning all lies told to students by IIPM. This continued activism by Careers360 wasnt liked by the IIPM and its people including the self proclaimed guru Mr.Arindam Choudhury.”

It’s been six years since the great war between Bansal and IIPM. It’s more than 6 months since Fernandes wrote his piece.

It’s also more than 6 months since the Advertising Standards Council of India introduced an advertising code for the educational sector. When they announced the code, the ASCI said: “Under the proposed guidelines, educational institutions will not be able to promise jobs, admissions, job promotions, salary increase, etc. without substantiating such claims and also assuming full responsibility in the same advertisement. The proposed guidelines discourage institutions from claiming success in placements, student compensations, admission to renowned institutes, marks and rankings, and topper student testimonials unless every such claim is substantiated with evidence.”

“Recently, ASCI has been receiving several intra-industry complaints against claims being made in ads of various educational institutions. Many students and parents too have complained to ASCI against claims made in advertisements by educational institutions,” said Dhananjay Keskar, ASCI’s chairman.

One would have thought, one would have hoped, that IIPM’s wanton run was over. It’s far from.

Earlier, in addition to the misleading information and straight lies, they had just Shah Rukh Khan to help them. In an ad for the IIPM Quiz (more on that later), SRK invitingly says, “Come to IIPM. I’ll see you there.”

A month or so ago, they proudly announced that ‘Ad Guru’ Aleque (sic) Padamsee had joined them (more correctly, joined Planman Marcom, which is related to IIPM in a way I don’t know about and I don’t care).

That’s two big endorsements for IIPM: SRK and Alyque. There are more. Yamaha, Videocon, LIC, Nokia, Canon, JKTyre, Radio Mirchi and Future TV are among those who sponsor the quiz. Each logo adds a misleading credibility for the organization.And there’s still more. Each reputed newspaper (or media product) that carries such messages adds another layer of credibility – and all major newspapers in the country happily (and gleefully) accept – and profit from – IIPM releases.

And it makes me wonder – what the hell is ASCI doing? What is SRK doing? What are all these big, credible brands doing?

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