ASCI investigates 342 advertisements complaints in January

During the month of January 2020, ASCI investigated complaints against 342 advertisements, of which 110 advertisements were promptly withdrawn by the advertisers on receipt of communication from ASCI. The independent Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI evaluated remaining 232 advertisements, of which complaints against 208 advertisements were upheld. Of these 208 advertisements, 83 belonged to the education sector, 64 belonged to the healthcare sector, eight to personal care, seven belonged to Real Estate sector, five to the food & beverages sector, and 41 were from the ‘others’ category.

ASCI exercised the “Suspension Pending Investigation” (SPI) option to fast track a complaint against an extremely offensive advertisement of an online content app. The advertisement shown as a user uploaded content involved the use of expletive and swear words as well as use of obscene language. The advertiser was instructed to pull down the objectionable advertisement within 48 hours.

ASCI also processed an intra-industry complaint against an advertisement by a pipes and fittings company featuring a famous Bollywood celebrity that misled consumers by implying that they are selling zero defect pipes. The advertisement also violated ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising.

An FMCG Giant, while presenting their ketchup as an accompaniment to meals was seen discrediting home cooked food and disparaging good food practices by calling it to be “boring” roti-sabji. Two popular alcohol brands were seen using surrogate advertising by promoting a music CD and travel experience, respectively.

In the cosmetic and personal care category, one large FMCG Company was found to fall foul by contravening the ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Skin Lightening or Fairness Improvement products. These were two separate advertisements of their cosmetic bleach brands. Another FMCG company misled consumers by claiming that its soap was recommended by Doctors and is capable of reducing risk of skin problems by up to 95%.

A legacy brand with their sports motorcycle portrayed dangerous acts and manifested a disregard for safety as the visuals were likely to encourage minors to emulate such acts which could cause harm or injury.

For the month of January, the CCC saw misleading advertisements of several IVF hospitals and Fertility clinics guaranteeing success and claiming to be the best. There were also a number of real estate advertisements making leadership claims which were unsubstantiated.

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