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SUO MOTU Surveillance by ASCI FOR MISLEADING ADVERTISEMENTS

The advertisements given below were picked up through ASCI’s Suo Motu surveillance of Print and TV media via the National Advertisement Monitoring Services (NAMS) project. Out of 255 advertisements that were picked, 85 cases were resolved immediately wherein the advertisers confirmed that the advertisements were being withdrawn post receiving the complaints. Of the 170 advertisements examined by the CCC, complaints against 169 advertisements were upheld. Of these 169 advertisements, 109 belonged to the Education sector, 37 advertisements belonged to the Healthcare sector, seven belonged to the Personal Care category, five belonged to Consumer Durables, four belonged to Food & Beverage and seven fell in the “Others” category.



Violation of ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising.

1. Fena (P) Limited (Fena Superwash Powder): The television advertisement’s claim “No.1 choice of millions of consumers” featuring celebrities Preity Zinta, K L Rahul, and Ravichandran Ashwin was not substantiated with verifiable market survey data of the advertiser’s product and other competitor products among representative country wide population, or through a third party validation, to prove that they preferred Fena over other brands in the detergent / bar category. Hence, the voice over claim having reference to the consumers’ choice for the product quality, is misleading.

2. Times Internet Limited (CricPlay): The print advertisement’s claim “India's Favourite Fantasy Cricket Game” featuring sportsman Gautam Gambhir was not adequately substantiated as there was no audited report or third-party validation for the claim. The CCC was of the opinion that star ratings alone are not necessarily a true reflection of a particular app being consumers’ “favourite” or it being preferred over others. Other important parameters such as inclusion of all leading apps across platforms and the actual downloads for each app per platform and whether the apps are paid or free were not provide by the advertiser.

Education

1. My Mission: The print advertisement’s claim “Assured success in constable exams” with respect to the courses mentioned, was not substantiated with verifiable supporting data of their students who achieved success in the constable exams. The claim assuring success is misleading.

Healthcare

1. Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare India P. Ltd (Ring Guard): The television advertisement’s claim as translated from Tamil “Gives relief from fungus in 7 days” was inadequately substantiated. The said claim when seen in conjunction with the visual of a “ring worm on the hand disappearing completely in 7 days”, implying cure, is misleading by gross exaggeration and implication. The advertiser acknowledges that the product only provides a symptomatic relief from “symptoms” of fungal infection. The CCC observed that as per visual presentation of the advertisement, a consumer is likely to interpret the claim that the product cures fungal infection. The TVC further shows the father, who is afflicted by fungal infection carrying the baby while the corresponding super refers to relief in seven days. Fungal clearance requires much longer treatment and portraying that the product cures fungal infection in seven days is encouraging an unsafe practice especially for a contagious condition. 

2. Medlife International Private Limited – Medlife: The print advertisement’s claim, “India's No.1 E-Pharmacy” was not conclusively proven with any verifiable comparative data. It was observed that the advertiser relies on the report by Frost & Sullivan on E-Pharmacy in India - An Exponential, to substantiate its claims. However the source of information in this report is the advertiser’s own blog, hence the report cannot reasonably be accepted as sufficient substantiation. The advertiser market share needed to be independently verified and other players shares like Netmeds, 1MG, Pharmeasy, Myra, CareOnGo and Pharmasafe have to be similarly assessed to ensure that no player has a larger share than the advertiser.

3. 1MG Technologies Private Limited (1mg.com): The print advertisement’s claim “India's Largest Healthcare platform” was not conclusively proven and is misleading by exaggeration and implication. The source for the claim was not indicated in the advertisement.

Personal Care

1. Hindustan Unilever Ltd (Men’s Fair & Lovely): The television advertisement’s voice over claim as translated from Hindi, “Real instant fairness in just ten seconds after applying” was misleading by ambiguity and implication. The CCC observed that the “Instant fairness” benefit being referred to by the advertiser pertained to only a “fairer look” due to “coverage” properties of the product ingredient. The product is not capable of changing the skin’s inherent complexion instantly and hence use of the “instant fairness” terminology itself is ambiguous and misleading. The CCC was of the view that the word “asli” (real) means actual complexion. Choice of such terminology to show a cosmetic effect was incorrect.

2. Lotus Herbals Ltd (Lotus Sports Sunscreen): The television advertisement’s claim “SPF 100”, was inadequately substantiated. The advertiser did not provide any product specific information such as copy of Product approval license, product label, and Product composition details nor any scientific or technical rationale for the product claim. As per excerpt of the test report, the product was tested for in-vitro sun protection factor analysis and determination of PA rating as per COLIPA 2011 method. The CCC considered this claim support data to be inadequate and was of the opinion that the SPF values were based on in vitro test and the same benefit was not conclusively proven for in-vivo situation.

Consumer Durables

1. Bajaj Electricals Ltd (Bajaj Ceiling Fans): The television advertisement’s claim as translated from Marathi “India’s first anti germ fan that gives protection against 99.2 percent germs and dust” was inadequately substantiated. The CCC noted that the advertiser’s response and the test report was not exhaustive enough to explain the anti-germ substance used on fan, its concentration, for how many days/months/years this activity is maintained by the fan, contact time required for efficacy and impact of in-room variables on germ kill effect. The claim and the voice over, “India’s first fan with anti-germ technology which gets rid of germs and dust”, implies complete removal of dust and all type of germs, which are misleading by exaggeration.

Food and Beverage:

1. Rasna Private Limited (Rasna Insta Energy): The television advertisement’s claim “Compared to other energy drink Rasna Insta has real fruit powder”, was not substantiated with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s product as compared to all other energy drinks on the real fruit powder content and is misleading. In the advertisement the ASCI Guidelines on Disclaimers were also violated as the disclaimer was not in the same language as the voice over.

Others
1. Sumix Baby Wear & Care: The television advertisement’s claim as translated from Malayalam “Made from 100% comp cotton gives relief from allergy” was misleading as the advertiser did not provide any substantiation for their product providing relief from allergy. It was observed that that while cotton clothing helps the skin breathe easily and is comfortable for a person suffering from allergy, it does not provide freedom from / cure to the allergy. 

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