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ASCI UPHELD COMPLAINTS AGAINST 248 ADVERTISEMENTS OUT OF 408. 137 OTHER ADVERTISEMENTS PROMPTLY WITHDRAWN POST ASCI INTERVENTION

Mumbai, February 20, 2020: During the month of November 2019, ASCI investigated complaints against 408 advertisements, of which 137 advertisements were promptly withdrawn by the advertisers on receipt of communication from ASCI. The independent Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI evaluated 271 advertisements, of which complaints against 248 advertisements were upheld. Of these 248 advertisements, 159 belonged to the education sector, 44 belonged to the healthcare sector, eight to personal care, four to the food & beverages sector, and 33 were from the ‘others’ category. 

While most of the advertisement were evaluated for making misleading claims, the CCC also upheld complaints against a couple of advertisements for encouraging disregard to safety. A TVC showing a pillion riding barber shaving a policeman in uniform on his way to work was considered to be inappropriate, contravening ASCI Guidelines for Advertisements depicting Automotive Vehicles. Complaint against a drama serial promo indicating the protagonist doing self-harm by stifling her neck with a cloth (duppata) was also upheld. 

TVC for a popular pain relief gel claiming “#1 Doctor recommended active for acute pain relief” was considered to be misleading as the terminology “#1 Doctor recommended active” was ambiguous. It omitted a key word “ingredient” which would be understood by general consumers. Visual presentation of a claim by a popular roll on deodorant product of dramatically changing dark underarms to fair in five days was considered to be misleading. 

Several advertisements featuring celebrities were caught on the wrong foot for making misleading claims. Advertisement of a popular diagnostic company featured a Bollywood superstar who endorsed their claim of the diagnostic lab being “preferred by most doctors”, which was considered to be misleading by exaggeration and implication. One of India’s well known toothpaste manufacturers featuring another renowned Bollywood celebrity claimed that every other toothpaste containing calcium is cheating customers. The advertisement also denigrated the entire category of “calcium containing white” toothpastes while implying superiority of their ayurvedic toothpaste. Advertisements featuring another legendary Indian cricketer were considered to be misleading for claims such as “No flicker” for a flicker control LED product and “25% faster charging & 25% extra backup” capacity for an inverter battery. 

Shweta Purandare, Secretary General, ASCI said “Consumers are exposed to a significant amount of advertisements on a daily basis. Children and youth are thereby greatly influenced not only for the product choices, but also by what is being depicted in the advertisements and celebrity endorsements. Responsible advertising means depicting safe practices and not encourage negligence. It is also the responsibility of Celebrities to check authenticity of the claims they endorse and serve their role of informed influencers.” 

EDUCATION: - 159 advertisements complained against


Direct Complaints (two advertisements)


Suo Motu Surveillance by ASCI (157 advertisements)


HEALTHCARE: - 44 advertisements complained against


Direct Complaints (two advertisement)


Suo Motu Surveillance by ASCI (42 advertisements)


PERSONAL CARE: - Eight advertisement complained against


Direct Complaints (Five advertisements)


Suo Motu Surveillance by ASCI (Three advertisements)


FOOD AND BEVERAGES: - four advertisements complained against


Direct Complaints (two advertisements)


Suo Motu Surveillance by ASCI (two advertisements)


OTHERS: - 33 advertisements complained against


Direct Complaints (11 advertisements)


Suo Motu Surveillance by ASCI (22 advertisements)


DIRECT COMPLAINTS

The advertisements given below were complained against by the general public or by industry members. Of the 68 advertisements complained against, 23 advertisements were promptly withdrawn by the advertiser on receiving communication from ASCI. For the remaining 45 advertisements, complaints against 22 advertisements were upheld by the CCC. Five advertisements belonged to Personal Care, Two from the Education sector, Two from the F&B, two advertisement belonged to the Healthcare sector and 11 from the others category. 23 advertisements were not considered to be objectionable or in contravention of the ASCI code. 

Personal Care 

Dabur Babool Ayurvedic Paste: The television and YouTube advertisement’s claim as translated from Hindi conveyed “Ordinary white toothpastes are cheating consumers (Choona lagana) every single day and there should be someone who can stop this cheating on the teeth and such cheating will now stop after using Dabur Babool Ayurvedic Toothpaste”. The advertisement featuring celebrity Ajay Devgan was considered misleading. The reference to ordinary white toothpaste in the TVC denigrates the entire category of “calcium containing white” toothpastes. The claim of superiority of the advertised product over all “Calcium containing white” toothpastes was not substantiated and the advertisement discredits such products in the garb of educating consumers. The advertiser also did not provide any evidence showing that the celebrities had done due diligence prior to the endorsement, hence violating ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising as well.

Hindustan Unilever Ltd (Rexona Whitening Roll-On): The advertisements claim as translated from Bengali “Contain Vitamin B3 and glycerine which helps get rid of dark underarms in 5 days” was inadequately substantiated and misleading. The advertiser couldn’t provide any findings to prove that in 5 days dark skin becomes dramatically fair as depicted in the TVC, nor any improvement was conclusively proven by objective evaluation. The results from the Expert Visual Assessment states an improvement of only the Evenness of skin color and Skin smoothness which is a subjective assessment; however, it was not representative of complete removal of dark patches as being depicted in the TVC.

Anchor Health & Beauty Care Pvt. Ltd (Anchor Germ Protection Soap): The advertisement’s claim, “Be 100% Protected” was inadequately substantiated and misleading. The claim is an absolute claim guaranteeing 100% protection which was not proven in in-use situation, as the user would expect the benefits in real use condition. The evidence provided was in-vitro test which is not indicating real life situation. The second claim “Tri-active Formula-a unique combination of 3 active ingredients that work extra hard to keep you and your family safe by fighting germs more effectively than any ordinary soap” was not substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration. The advertiser did not provide data to prove the presence of the three active ingredients used at levels recognized for their antibacterial efficacy. The advertiser also used the claim “New” in their advertisements and product packaging for more than one year from the time of the product been launched in the market, and hence the claim contravened the ASCI Guidelines for Validity & Duration of Claiming New / Improved. 

Mooppan Priceless Herbs (Jatamansi & 26 herbs hair oil): The website advertisement’s claims, “World’s Best Hair Oil” and “most Genuine and Honest Hair treatment for preventing Hair fall, premature hair greying and helps to grow new hair buds even after your middle age!” were misleading by exaggeration and implication. There was no verifiable worldwide comparative data or market research data submitted, to prove that their hair oil is better than all the rest, or through an independent third party validation. The advertiser also did not provide any relevant authentic and credible evidence of product efficacy to indicate that the product offers all the benefits claimed in the advertisement. 

Hindustan Unilever Ltd (Pears Soap): The television advertisement’s voiceover claim, “Pears me hai 100 percent jyaadaa glycerine” and the claim “100% Zyaada Glyercin*” were misleading. The claim carries an asterisk (*) to qualify that `it is compared to Grade 1 soap’. The CCC noted that comparing glycerine content of the advertised product versus a non-glycerine containing soap is incorrect. The subject matter of comparison is chosen in such a way as to confer an artificial advantage upon the advertiser or so as to suggest that a better bargain is offered than is truly the case. Furthermore, the disclaimer was not stated in a font size that is at least 25% of the size of the claim which was being qualified, and also not positioned in close proximity of the claim i.e. immediately next to or below the claim and violated ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers.

Education

The following advertisements violated ASCI’s Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions and Programs. 

Sorting Hat Technologies Pvt Ltd (Unacademy.com): The Facebook and website advertisement’s claim of “a success rate of CAT 99.99 percentile in verbal ability and reading comprehension for record 9 times” was misleading as the advertiser did not provide any data to support the claim. 

Udaipur Institute of Hotel Management: The ad-brochure’s claim, “100% Guaranteed job placement on stamp paper* in Abroad & India”, was considered to be misleading as it was not substantiated with authentic supporting evidence. The advertisement did not have any disclaimers to indicate “Past record is no guarantee of future job prospects”, nor did it have a declaration of the total number of students passing out from the placed class. In view of this, the print advertisement also contravened ASCI Guidelines for disclaimers in advertising.

Food and Beverage

Field Fresh Foods Pvt Ltd (A Bharti Enterprise) (Del Monte): The YouTube advertisement’s claim, “Whole Green Olives”, “Product of Spain” are misleading. The product packaging indicates that the table olives are packaged in Spain and are labelled as “Whole Green Olives”, “Product of Spain”. However a part of the footage shows handpicking of olives in Puglia, Italy, contradictory to the declarations on pack. The advertisement also violated the ASCI Guidelines for Food and Beverages in advertising.

ABBOTT HEALTHCARE PVT. LTD – Ensure: The television advertisement’s claim “Regain strength in 8 weeks” was misleading as the choice of the study as a source of the claim was considered to be incorrect and did not support the claim made in the advertisement. The target group shown in the advertisement is a physically exhausted normal individual returning from office while the referenced study was done with undernourished elderly subjects >65 years (mean age being ~76) and about to be discharged from hospital. The clinical study population was a heterogenous group of undernourished elderly subjects which was different from what is being depicted in the TV/YouTube advertisement as well as through description under the product benefit banner on Amazon post – wherein the age groups of 40 or 45+ have been mentioned. The advertisement was not in the same language of the voiceover, hence contravened ASCI Guidelines on Disclaimers in Advertising as well as Guidelines for Advertising of Foods and Beverages. 

Healthcare


Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare (India) Pvt Ltd (*) (Moov Advance Diclofenac Gel): The advertisement’s claim “#1 Doctor recommended active for acute pain relief” was considered misleading. It was observed that the basis for claim is a certificate from IQVIA Consulting and Information Services which certifies that Diclofenac is the most prescribed molecule in IQVIA’s Topical Anti-rheumatics category for a 12-month period ending June 2019. The advertised product falls under the category of “OTC medicine” and products in this category are not necessarily sold via prescription route alone. The “most prescribed” claim does not necessarily mean “most recommended” product. Moreover, several of the other prescribed products being referred to in the claim support by the advertiser were multi-ingredient products and not of diclofenac alone. Furthermore, the claim on the website advertisement was also found to be misleading in its presentation. The claim “#1 Doctor Recommended Active” is followed by the product image and the reference to “Active for Acute Pain Relief” is displayed towards the bottom half, dissociating from the main claim. The source of the claim was also missing in the advertisement. The advertisement also contravened ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers. 

Vedistry Pvt. Ltd (Moha 5 in 1 Hair Oil): The print advertisements claim “Prevents Premature Greying”, “Eliminates Dandruff” were inadequately substantiated. It was observed that the advertiser provided the clinical trial reports the design and validation in both papers are lacking 'scientific rigor' in terms of sample size, evaluation parameters applied, statistical relevance and interpretation of outcomes for the claims. The CCC opined that the clinical tests/trials should have been conducted by an institute having relevant expertise to conclusively prove the claims. The data submitted was not sufficient to justify the absolute claims. 

Others 

The CCC found that the claims made in the following advertisements were misleading, exploit consumers’ lack of knowledge and can lead to widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.

Livfast Batteries Pvt Ltd (Livfast Inverter and Battery): The advertisement’s claim “Inverter and batteries have 25% faster charging and provides 25% extra backup” featuring celebrity cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni was inadequately substantiated. The tests reports provided by the advertiser were carried out by their own R&D to prove that the inverter and the batteries have 25% faster charging than their competitors. The tests were carried out with an arbitrarily defined load cycle. It is further observed that the advertiser had taken products with a lower kVA rating instead of comparing their product with a competitor product of an equal kVA. The technical characteristics of inverters for power supply are often compared based on charging and discharging efficiencies. These are specified by the IS Standards and BEE Standards. The CCC was of the opinion that if any claims related to fast charging are to be made vis-à-vis all competitors- the application, discharge rate needs to be specified- standard test protocols – between the manufacturers, effect on battery life to be estimated and tests need to be done by an independent agency. The YouTube and website advertisements claim is misleading by exaggeration and omission to mention the basis of comparison and contravenes ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers. The advertiser also did not provide any evidence showing that the celebrities had done due diligence prior to the endorsement, hence violating ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising. 

Orient Electric Ltd: The advertisements featuring star cricketer, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was misleading by implication. It was observed that while the advertisement claims to have “flicker control technology”, it visually depicts “no flicker” or absence of any flicker. The CCC concluded that such visual depiction accompanied by voice over “flicker nahi, toh ankhe sahi” was contrary to the flicker control effect. The second claim “Recommended by Indian Medical Academy for Preventive Health” was also misleading as the advertiser gave more weightage and prominence to the word “Indian Medical Academy” while additional wordings “for preventive Health” was downplayed. The advertisement contravened ASCI’s Guidelines for Disclaimers as well as ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising.

Realme Mobile Telecommunications (India) Private limited: The advertisement’s claim “No. 1 Quality* Smartphone Brand” was inadequately substantiated. It was observed that the advertiser promoted a mobile phone and positioned itself as the No.1 Quality Smartphone Brand. The survey conducted by the agency was based on 10 brands that account for more than 90% combined market share of the overall market. These rankings were solely based on terms of volume shipped. The CCC was of the opinion that the product or brand may have a small market share but may have a higher quality. Further, of the three survey findings that are relevant to the claim, the first (overall performance) is comparative with other brands. However, the difference between the Advertiser’s brand and the next one is very small and the report has not provided any confirmation whether these differences are significant or not. Furthermore, this report does not have a specific reference to ‘Quality’. The second survey finding (product quality/VFM) is not comparative across brands and therefore cannot be used for a No.1 ranking. The third finding mentions a Product Quality Index. However, it was not established how this was computed. Moreover, the sample covers only 15-30 year old users and not all smartphone users and it is quite likely that smartphone preferences and evaluation would be very different by age of smartphone user. The YouTube advertisement also contravened ASCI’s Guidelines for Disclaimers.

Asian Paints Ltd (Asian Paints Royale Health Shield): The television advertisement’s claim “Antibacterial paint with Silver Ion Technology as recommended by the Indian Medical Association” was examined by the CCC. The claim “Antibacterial paint” and endorsement by IMA granting usage of the IMA recommendation of the technology with a mandatory disclaimer (Silver Ion Technology as recommended* by the Indian Medical Association) were substantiated. However, in the TVC, presentation of the product, the word “Indian Medical Association” was more prominent and the critical disclaimer wording “Silver Ion Technology recommended* by the ….” was downplayed in terms of font size, font format and weightage. The hold duration for the disclaimers regarding product efficacy was not adequate. The advertisement contravened ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers.

Myntra.com: The website advertisement’s claim, “Here’s Rs. 400 for you! 8-PM midnight, CODE:400FORYOU”, was not substantiated with evidence of any of their consumers having availed the offer. The claim did not include any asterisk to denote that it was subject to any terms and conditions. The advertisement did not make reference to terms and conditions that consumers might peruse before availing the said offer, nor did the advertiser provide the details of terms and conditions applicable for the offer and contravened ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers.

MakeMyTrip India Pvt. Ltd: The website/app advertisement of MakeMyTrip (MMT) showing Hotel images of the reception area, the inside view of the hotel rooms, and the outside view of the Friends Hotel in Sikkim are misleading and misrepresentation of facts by giving false information about the facilities being provided at the Hotel. 

GIRIAS Investment Pvt. Ltd: The print advertisement’s claim” “Planning to Buy Online! Beware!! 1 In 3 Customers are sold fake products Online will You Be The Next One?? Stop And Think Before You Buy Online” was unsubstantiated and misleading. The advertiser makes assertions that most products sold online are fake and customers need to be aware before buying. However, the advertiser itself has an online store selling goods online. The CCC considered this to be a comparison being made without any basis. 

LSD Films Pvt Ltd. (Beyhadh Season 2): The drama serial’s promo contains a specific visual of the female protagonist stifling her neck with a cloth (duppata) and then turning her body in upside down position. Such visuals shows a dangerous act (indicative of self-harm) with a disregard for safety and it is likely to encourage minors to emulate such an act which could cause harm or injury. 

TV Today Network (India Today Television): The ad-emailer’s claims, “The trusted choice on Haryana and Maharashtra Elections” and “India Today TV was the most-watched English news channel with a lead margin of 45% over the No.2 channel on Polling Day” were misleading. The CCC noted that India Today Television had made leadership claims under Single Event Reporting and the mailer is in multiple breaches of the BARC Guidelines, including those for single event reporting. The claim is apt to mislead people into a false impression of genre leadership

Bajaj Auto Ltd (Bajaj Platina): The television advertisement shows a policeman riding the Platina with a barber riding pillion and shaving the policeman. The entire act was put up to showcase the ride comfort of the vehicle with the narrative of a ‘Makhkhan Jaisi Ride’ concept. It was observed that the protagonist – a policeman in uniform who himself should be abiding by traffic rules, shown performing such stunts was inappropriate. The TVC shows dangerous practices, stunts in normal traffic conditions which manifests a disregard for safety. The TVC and its corresponding YouTube advertisement contravened ASCI Guidelines for Advertisements depicting Automotive Vehicles.

Lenskart Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (Lenskart): The poster advertisement promoting two pairs of cat framed spectacles “2 pairs for Rs 999” was not substantiated and misleading. The advertiser did not provide any disclaimers nor did they provide any details of the offer upfront and how many consumers had availed the said offer. The advertisement contravened ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers in Advertising.


SUO MOTU Surveillance by ASCI FOR MISLEADING ADVERTISEMENTS

The advertisements listed below were picked up through ASCI’s Suo Motu surveillance of Print and TV media through the National Advertisement Monitoring Services (NAMS) project. Out of 340 advertisements that were picked, 114 cases were resolved immediately wherein the advertisers confirmed that the advertisements were being withdrawn post receiving the ASCI communication. All other 226 advertisements examined by the CCC were considered to be misleading. Of these 226 advertisements, 157 belonged to the Education sector, 42 advertisements belonged to the Healthcare sector, three belonged to the Personal Care category, Two belonged to the F&B category and 22 fell in the “Others” category. 

Education

The CCC found that the claims made in following 18 advertisements were misleading by exaggeration, exploited consumers’ lack of knowledge and could lead to widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. A large number of advertisements contravened ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers in Advertising. These advertisements also violated ASCI’s Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions and Programs. 

Mother’s Pride: The print advertisement’s claim “India's Most Loved Pre-School” was not substantiated with any market survey data or with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s pre-school and other similar pre-schools in India, to prove that they are more loved than all other pre-schools by parents and students alike, or through a third party validation.

Ompati Devi Memorial College for Women: The print advertisement’s “The Most Trusted Institution of Hisar” was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s college and other similar women’s college in Hisar, to prove that their college is more trusted compared to all the others for providing graduate and undergraduate courses to their girl students, or through a third party validation. 

Paramount Coaching Centre Pvt Ltd: The print advertisement’s claim “Only Reliable Institute of India Providing Highest Results” was not substantiated with market survey data, or with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar coaching institutes, or through an independent third party validation.

Apex University: The print advertisement’s “First Choice of Students” was not substantiated with any market survey data, or with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s university and other similar universities, to prove that the advertiser’s organization was considered as the first choice by students for various graduate and under graduate courses, or through an independent third-party validation. 

Bulls Eye: The print advertisement’s “The Undisputed Leader in CAT” was not substantiated with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s coaching institute and other similar coaching institutes, to prove that they are in leadership position (No.1) in providing coaching for CAT to their students, or through an independent third party validation.

Pt. R.K. Shukla College of Law: The print advertisement’s claim, “First Choice of Students from past many years” was not substantiated with any market survey data, or with verifiable comparative data on year on year basis since inception as claimed, of the advertiser’s college and other similar colleges, to prove that the advertiser’s institute was considered as the first choice by students for various law courses, or through an independent third-party validation. 

Sri Chaitainya Educational Institutions: The print advertisement’s claim, “North India's Biggest Talent Hunt Exam” was not substantiated with any market survey data or verifiable comparative data of their institute and other similar institutes in North India to prove that their institute’s talent hunt exam is bigger than similar talent exams of other institutes, or through an independent third-party report. 

EduNirvana: The print advertisement’s claim, “The Most Qualified Mentors” and “Most Trusted Brand” was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and faculty from all other similar coaching institutes, to prove that the faculty (mentors) from their institute are more qualified in teaching and training students for GRE, GMAT, SAT and IELTS examinations, compared to mentors of other institutes or through an independent third-party validation. 

Pyramid eServices Pvt Ltd: The print advertisement claim’s, “India's Biggest (Mega Canadian Education Fair)” was not substantiated with any market survey data or any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s education fair and other similar education fair’s conducted for admissions to various academic programs in Canada, to prove that their fair is bigger than all the rest, or through a third-party validation. 

Mothers Lap Playschool: The print advertisement’s claim, “India's Favourite Pre-School” was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data or any market survey data of the advertiser’s pre-school and other similar pre-schools in India, to prove that their pre-school is more preferred or favored among parents and students than all the rest, or through a third-party validation.

Parth CS Classes: The print advertisement’s claim, “Most Reputed CS Institute of Shekhawati” was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s classes and other similar coaching classes in Shekhawati, to prove that their coaching class is more reputed compared to all the others.

Physics by Vijay Daswani: The print advertisement’s claim, “India's Most Popular Physics Faculty” was not substantiated with any market survey data or with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute.

Ayaan Institute: The print advertisement’s claim “AP and TS’s Most Favourite Institute” was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data or any market survey data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes in AP and TS. 

StratMark India Pvt Ltd - Edmax The Learning App: The print advertisement’s claim “India's Best Syllabus Based Offline Digital Study App” was not substantiated with market survey data, or with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s application and other similar study applications in India to prove that the advertiser’s syllabus based digital study application is better than all the rest.

Doon Public School: the print advertisement’s claim “India's Most Futuristic & High-Tech School” was not substantiated with any market survey data, or with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s school and other similar schools in India, to prove that their school is more futuristic and high-tech compared to all the others. 

Parigyaan Classes: the print advertisement’s claim “Best Printed Notes” was misleading by exaggeration. It was noted that it was not possible for the advertiser to conduct a comparative study to generate such claim support data given the unorganized nature of the educational sector and number of such coaching institutes.

Pretty Petals Public School: the print advertisement’s claim, “Bareilly's Largest Designer Play School” was misleading as the advertiser failed to provide any source or information to proof that they are larger than all the rest. 

Prime Immigration Services: the print advertisement’s claim, “Study + Work in UK Without IELTS” was not substantiated with a detailed verifiable list of candidates who have received study and work visas in the United Kingdom without completion of the IELTS exams, evidence to support their enrolment including contact details for independent verification, copies of their appointment letters, a CA certification or an independent third-party claim validation. Claim “100% Visa” was not substantiated with any authentic and verifiable evidence to prove that every single client of theirs having received Visa approval as claimed, or an independent third-party claim validation. 

Complaints against 139 advertisements of the following educational institutes are UPHELD mainly because of unsubstantiated AND misleading claims that they provide 100% placement/100% placement assistance OR they claim to be the No.1 and Best in their respective fields. The advertisements also violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions and Programs.

Healthcare

The CCC found that the claims made in the following 21 advertisements were misleading that exploit consumers’ lack of knowledge and could lead to widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. Several of these claims were misleading by exaggeration.

SRL Diagnostics: The print advertisement’s claim “Most Doctor Preferred Lab” featuring Bollywood celebrity Shilpa Shetty was not conclusively established and was considered to be misleading. It was observed that the advertiser’s claim was based on a survey conducted among 199 doctors in 2019 in four cities - Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore where the doctors were asked to select their most preferred Pathology labs / Diagnostic Centres / Labs in the city. The 2019 report under the section – Brand Preference indicates that for SRL Labs - 94% of the Doctors recommended the labs (Always and Most of the Time), 57 % recommended it always and 37% recommended it most of the time; whereas, Dr. Lal a close competitor was Always and Most of the Time recommended by Doctors – 93% of the time, always recommended – 23% of the time and 70% recommended most of the time. The CCC was of the opinion that the “Top Box” results for SRL and Dr Lal were similar for “always/most of the time” recommendation (94% and 93% respectively). Further, with reference to the two-brand strategy in Kolkata, the CCC opined that the claim made by the advertiser can only be attributed to that brand alone and not to any other, especially one as distinctly different as Drs Tribedi and Roy. The CCC was of the opinion that the advertiser cannot club preferences for both brands and attribute this to the advertiser’s brand alone. The two labs (SRL and Drs Tribedi and Roy) maintain very different websites, have different contact addresses/collection points, and on the face of it have separate operations from each other. The CCC observed that the advertiser also did not provide any evidence to show that the celebrity Shilpa Shetty had done due diligence prior to endorsement, to ensure that all description, claims and comparisons made in the TV advertisement are capable of substantiation. The advertisement contravened ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising.

VLCC Health Care Limited (VLCC Cool Sculpting): The print and television advertisement’s claim “Add figure to your shape in just one session” was not substantiated with treatment efficacy data. The advertiser did not provide evidence of their customers who achieved the claimed results of adding figure to their shape in just one session regardless of their physiological status and lifestyle.

Dr. Jains Zero Figure & Cosmetic Clinic: The print advertisement’s claim “Safest and easiest method to get permanent riddance from obesity” was misleading. The CCC observed that the conclusions presented in the clinical report indicate that while cryolipolysis is a non-invasive mechanism for selective reduction of fat cells, there are contraindications to consider including such cold-induced conditions as cryoglobulinemia, cold urticaria and paroxysmal cold hemoglobunuria. The report indicates that there is no evidence to suggest it can remove fat from large areas on a scale seen with liposuction procedures. Further studies are needed to fully characterize the full clinical potential of the procedure. The research categorically states that it is NOT a treatment for obesity and patients with significant skin laxity will not appreciate fat layer reduction. The studies make no reference to the effect being permanent in nature. The data submitted did not establish this method being advisable for obese patients or that it being the most efficient, safest or the easiest among all available options. Additionally, treatment efficacy depicted via before and after visuals of a patient is misleading by exaggeration.

Sahyadri Hospitals: The print advertisement’s claim “Freedom from Infertility” implies guaranteed cure for infertility, which was not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence.

Surabhi Hospital & Test Tube Baby Centre: The print advertisement’s claim “The Only Test Tube Centre of Kumaon Region Giving Most Successful Result” was not substantiated. The CCC observed that the advertiser did not provide any evidence of their success rate nor any comparison with other test tube centres, to prove that they are better than others.

Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited (Apollo Proton Cancer Centre): The advertisement’s claim, “Proton Therapy, The World’s Most Advanced Cancer Treatment, Only at Apollo Proton Cancer Centre” was inadequately substantiated. The CCC observed that the advertiser only had assertions about their claim. The advertiser did not provide any evidence worldwide to indicate that they are the only ones offering this advanced therapy. 

MP Fertility and Test Tube Baby Center: The print advertisement’s claim “Freedom from Infertility” was not substantiated with any supporting clinical evidence for each of their patient or through a third party validation. 

Motherhood Fertility: The print advertisement’s claim, “Freedom from Sterility” was not substantiated. The CCC observed that the advertiser is promoting treatment for infertility through IVF treatment, without providing any supporting clinical evidence for each of their patient or through a third party validation.

SIPS Super Speciality Hospital- Obesity Clinic and Bariatric Surgery Centre (OCBSC): The print advertisement’s claim, “Bariatric Surgery Has Benefit of Curing Diabetes and Hyper Tension” was not substantiated. It was observed that the advertiser did not provide any published literature or scientific data to prove that treatment through bariatric surgery cures obese people of diabetes and hyper tension on permanent basis. The CCC noted that such benefits on permanent basis are unlikely given the inherent medical conditions and importance of other lifestyle management interventions that were not mentioned in the advertisement.

Shree Balaji Hospital: the print advertisement’s claim, “Quit Alcohol Without the Knowledge of The Person” was not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence. The advertiser was promoting treatment for alcohol riddance without the knowledge of the addict. However, the advertiser did not provide any details of the treatment procedure, nor any details regarding the medicines and their approval status by the regulatory authorities.

Meenakshi Herbals Osopile (Ds Capsule): The print advertisement’s claim “Freedom from Piles” were not substantiated with scientific rationale and / or evidence of product efficacy. It was observed that the advertiser did not provide copy of product label, copy of Product approval license, AYUSH approval for the claims made or any references for the ingredients with their prescribed benefits as per ayurvedic text. 

Dr. Care Homeopathy: The print advertisement’s claim “Biggest Known Brand in South India” was inadequately substantiated with any product specific information to prove that their brand is more well-known than all the others, or through an independent third-party validation.

Master’s Homeopathy: The print advertisement’s claim “Permanent Relief from Migraine Head Ache”, “Hepatitis Problem is Cured” and “Sciatica Problem Can be Completely Cured” were not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence as the adviser did not provide any details of the homeopathic treatment procedure, nor any details regarding the medicines and their approval status by the regulatory authorities, any proof that they can cure all the mentioned illnesses.

Surya Hospital (Surya Amrit Jivan): The print advertisements claim “Permanent Riddance from Alcohol by Sitting at Home”, “Quit Without Knowledge and Consultation that too Within only 3 Days” were not substantiated as the advertiser did not provide any details of their treatment procedure for permanently treating addiction within three days without the addict’s knowledge as claimed, nor any details regarding the medicines used and their approval status by the regulatory authorities.

Medicover Fertility: The print advertisement’s claim “Fulfill Your Dream of Becoming A Mother with Medicover Fertility” was misleading. The advertisement does not disclose that the “dream of becoming a mother” may not be fulfilled due to other medical pre-conditions. The said claim amounts to guaranteed success as a result of treatment for infertility which is misleading as the success rate for such kind of treatment is low. The claim goes on to further mention “Where every 3 hours an IVF Baby is born worldwide” was also inadequately substantiated as the advertiser did not provide details of total number of patients that received the IVF treatment and how many IVF cycles were conducted per patient.

Dawar Advance Dentals (DAD's Clinic): The print advertisement’s claims “Most Advanced Dental Clinic of TRICITY” and “Only Clinic to Provide Digital Solution for Implant Prosthesis” were not substantiated. The advertiser did not provide verifiable comparative data or with market survey data of the advertiser’s clinic versus other similar dental clinics in Chandigarh, to prove that they provide more advanced dental treatment as compared to others or that they are the only clinic to provide digital solution for Implant Prosthesis.

Dawar Advance Dentals: The print advertisement’s claim “World’s Best and Most Trusted Implants” was not substantiated as the advertiser failed to provide any market survey data or any verifiable comparative data for worldwide, of the advertiser and other dental implant services in the world, to prove that their dental implants are better and most trusted as compared to others or through a third party validation.

Tarun Nursing Home: The print advertisement’s claim “Successful Medicine to Quit Alcohol” was not substantiated with robust clinical evidence of patients treated and cured of addiction. It was noted that no response was received from the advertiser and is promoting medicine for alcohol addiction without providing any details of the treatment procedure, nor any details regarding the medicines and their approval status by the regulatory authorities.

Fit & Slim Slimming Center: The print advertisement’s claims, “Reduce 2 to 3 inch in 1 sitting through advance therapy & reduce 5 to 7 kg in a month” and “Without exercise – Medicine” were not substantiated as the advertiser did not provide details of their treatment procedure for weight reduction nor any weight loss data based on rigorous trial on statistically significant number of their patients who achieved the claimed results of two to three inches of weight reduction in one sitting and five to seven kgs in a month. Also, there was no data presented regarding safety aspect of this treatment regardless of health status of the patients.



Alfa Wellness Herbal Pvt Ltd: The print advertisement’s claims, “Freedom From all Types of Obesity Without Gym, Surgery, Crush Dieting, Down Time, Side Effect”, “Get Rid of Hypothyroid, Hi-BP, Diabetes Type-2, P.C.O.D in a Natural Way” are misleading by gross exaggeration. The advertiser did not provide any substantiation for their claims such as robust clinical evidence to prove that obese people have got rid of all types of obesity, Hypothyroid, Hi-BP, Diabetes Type-2 and P.C.O.D Type II on a permanent basis nor any published scientific research papers to back the claims.

Aashka Hospitals Limited- Aashka Multispecialty Hospitals: the print advertisement’s claims, “The Largest Tertiary Care Hospital of North Gujarat” is misleading as the advertiser only makes assertions about their hospital and they did not submit any verifiable comparative data or market survey data of its hospital, hence violating ASCI’s Guidelines for Disclaimers in advertising. 

The following 21 advertisements were considered to be, prima facie, in violation of The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act/ The Drugs & Cosmetics Rules, and are being referred to the Ministry of AYUSH.

Personal Care
Indus Cosmeceuticals Pvt Ltd (Indus Valley Gel Colour): The print advertisement’s claim “Gel Hair Colour is More Safe Than Most of The Contemporary Hair Colours” was not substantiated as the advertiser did not provide details of the said comparative study of their product and other hair colour products nor any comparative technical test reports, or scientific rationale for the claim. Furthermore, the claim unfairly denigrated other products directly in the hair colour category by implying that they are less safe. The second claim “Doctor Recommended” was not substantiated as the advertiser failed to provide any proof that the product is recognized by doctors for its efficacy and is recommended by the same. The third claim “Organically Natural Hair Colour” was not substantiated as the advertiser did not provide any organic certification for their product nor supporting data to prove it is natural.

Arganshe Pvt Ltd- (Anti-Ageing Sun Protective Face Crème (Spf 30) & Rose Calamine Sun Protective Face Crème (Spf 60)): The print advertisement’s claim “SPF 30” & “SPF 60” were not substantiated as the advertiser did not provide any specific information for these products such as copy of product approval license, product label and product composition details nor any scientific or technical rationale for the product claims.

Arganshe Pvt Ltd (Bioayurveda Range of Products): The print advertisement’s claim “100% Organic” was misleading as the advertiser did not furnish the complete set of supporting documents of the NOP Certificate (Organic Certificate) and all the pages of the organic certificate. Further, the organic certificate provided was specifically for “quality systems maintained in the manufacturing”, which was not stated in the advertisement. No certificate specific to ingredients or composition of the products depicted in the advertisement was provided. It is observed that the advertiser did not indicate if the claims were in compliance with FSSAI guidelines for organic products.

Food and Beverage

R.M. Dhariwal Foods & Beverages Pvt. Ltd (Manikchand Oxyrich): the print advertisement claim, “300 % MORE OXYGEN.” was not substantiated as the advertiser did not provide any technical data/test reports to prove that the product has “300% more oxygen” and the basis of comparison was not stated in the advertisement. The advertisement contravened ASCI guidelines for advertising of Food and Beverages.

Dhanya Pharmaceuticals (Ayurved) (D-Salt Alcoholizam): The television advertisement’s claim, “100 Percent Natural and Certified Organic Product.” was not substantiated. It was observed in the Malayalam TVC that the advertiser is promoting their product `DSalt Alcoholizam” as a medicine for quitting alcohol and those addicted to wine drinking. The advertiser failed to provide information on product specific such as copy of product label, product approval license and product composition details, any scientific or technical rationale for the product claim, any natural or organic certification for their advertised product. 

Others 

  • The CCC found that the claims in the following 22 advertisements were misleading and exploited consumers’ lack of knowledge which could lead to widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
  • LG Electronics India Pvt. Ltd (LG OLED TV): The print advertisement’s claim, “World’s Best-Selling OLED Brand” was not substantiated with copy of the award certificate, details of the awarding body, details of the criteria for granting the award, references of the award received such as the year, source, category, survey methodology, parameters considered, questionnaires used, names of other similar OLED brands that were part of the survey and outcome of the survey. The advertisement contravened ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers.
  • Tata Chemicals Ltd (Tata Dx Detergent Expert): The television commercials claim, “Remove the toughest of stains when soaked for 15 mins” and visual shows a saree being soaked for 15 minutes and it comes out clean and completely spotless. The voice over claim when seen in conjunction with the visual is likely to mislead the consumers that the stain can be removed completely when soaked for 15 mins alone. The CCC also observed that though the TVC claims of stain removal in the voice over, the pack claim and visual have no such claim and it refers only to dirt removal. The second claim “15 mins detergent expert” was also misleading. The front image of the pack gives an impression that just 15 minutes of soaking is enough, and whereas back of pack further clarifies that a 10 min long wash is also required. 
  • Lodha Developers Pvt. Ltd: The print advertisement’s claim “India's No.1 Real Estate Developer” was inadequately substantiated. The Liases Foras data referring the advertiser as No.1 in “Residential” category was for the financial years ending on March 2017 and March 2018 and is a certificate for equity shares for proposed initial public offering. The CCC was of the opinion that there appears to be a conflict of interest as the company helping to obtain equity shares also appears to be providing a certificate of their client being the largest. Furthermore, the certificate is not backed by additional details such as data supporting the certificate, the survey methodology used to arrive at the claim, criteria used for evaluation, names of other similar real estate development companies that were part of the assessment and the outcome of the survey. The advertiser also acknowledged that the certificate was for “residential sales” which was missed out in the advertised claim. The CCC was of the opinion that the claim itself should have included this detail and the source of the claim for the current period is required to be mentioned. The advertisement contravened ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers in advertising.
  • Jewish Apparels & Accessories (Ziva Maternity Wear): the print advertisement claim “No.1 Maternity Wear Retail Brand in India” was not substantiated with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s brand and other Maternity wear retail brands in India, to prove that they are in leadership position (No.1) or through an independent third party validation.
  • Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (Goodknight Naturals Neem Agarbatti): The print and television advertisement’s claim, “Burns for 3 hours and there will be no mosquitoes” was inadequately substantiated. The advertiser provided an incomplete report (missing data tables) along with the lack of 3-hour data, which is the crux of the claim. The advertisement also contravened ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers in Advertising. The CCC observed that the advertiser only reported the Peet Grady test. Some lines in the report were redacted and the tabular data referred to in the test report submitted by the advertiser was not present. The parts of the report provided by the advertiser showed that 50% of the mosquitoes were knocked down in about 24 minutes, 95% in 54 minutes, and 100% in 55 minutes of exposure to the product, which was with internal circulation with a fan. At 24 hours, there was 3.33% knock down and 4.47% mortality, implying > 90% of the mosquitoes recovered and were alive and flying at 24 hours. However, no data was provided for 3 hours. The claim is misleading by ambiguity, exaggeration and implication, and is likely to lead to grave disappointment in the minds of consumers. 
  • Indus Motor Company Pvt Ltd (Indus Motors): The print advertisement’s claim “India's No.1 Dealer” was not substantiated as the advertiser failed to provide any verifiable comparative data and source of the advertiser’s company and other car dealer companies in India, to prove that they are in the leadership position (No.1) or through an independent third-party validation.
  • Standard Tyre Retraders: The print advertisement’s claim “No.1 in the Tyre Retreading” was not substantiated with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s company and other tyre retreading companies, to prove that they are in leadership position (No.1) than all the rest in the tyre retreading sector, or through an independent third party validation. The advertisement contravened ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers
  • Benchmark Agencies Pvt. Ltd (Benchmark Instant Gas Water Heater): the print advertisement’s claim, “Benchmark No.1 Geyser” was not substantiated with comparative data of the advertiser’s product and other geyser/water heater manufacturers, to prove that their product is in leadership position (No.1) than the rest in terms of value or volume share, or through a third-party validation. The advertisement contravened ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers.
  • Hykon India Limited (Hykon 2-In-1 Solar Water Heater): The television advertisement’s claim “No 1 Quality” was misleading as the advertiser did not provide any verifiable data regarding product quality or product specification.
  • Vikrant Chemico Industries Private Limited (Doctor Phenyle): The print advertisement’s claim, “Most Powerful Insecticide” was not substantiated with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s product and other similar phenyl products, to prove that the advertiser’s phenyl product is more powerful in killing insects than other phenyl products, or through an independent third party validation. The advertisement contravened ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers.
  • Vikrant Chemico Industries Private Limited (Doctor Phenyle): The print advertisement’s claims, “Only Floor Cleaner Which Kills Germs Spreading Lethal Diseases in The House”, “100% Protection from Dengue Mosquitoes” were misleading. The advertiser did not submit relevant data as copy of Product approval license, product label, and Product composition details nor any scientific or technical rationale for the product claims. Additionally, there was no evidence provided of presence of ingredients responsible for the claimed benefits, nor any comparative technical test reports / third party reports on the test results for the product’s ability to kill germs spreading lethal diseases, and to provide 100% Protection from Dengue Mosquitoes. 
  • GlobalKart: The print advertisement’s claim, “Complete Protection from Airborne Diseases”, “9 Times Better than any HEPA Air Purifier” were misleading as the advertiser did not provide any scientific rationale or technical comparative data/test reports to prove the claim. Another claim “India’s First Wearable Air Purifier” was also not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s product and other air purifiers products, to prove that they are the first to introduce wearable air purifiers as compared to all the rest, or through a third-party validation.
  • Snehanjali Electronics: The print advertisement’s claim, “The Most Trusted Electronics Planet” was not substantiated with market survey data, or with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s company (stores/showroom) and other similar electronic companies, to prove that the advertiser’s stores/showrooms are more trusted than all the rest, or through an independent third party validation. The advertisement contravened ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers.
  • Spaceage Multiproducts Pvt. Ltd (Morning Walker): The print advertisement’s claim, “Freedom from Lifestyle Ailments”, “Use it for Just 15 minutes Daily and Keep the Miseries of Illnesses Away for Life”, “Walk 10000 Steps in 15 Minutes Lying at Your Home” were not substantiated with scientific rationale as the advertiser did not provide any details of the product, nor any published literature or report regarding product benefits. Also, no authentic and credible evidence of product efficacy was provided by the advertiser to indicate that the product offers all benefits without any physical efforts.
  • Sunder Enterprises (Sunder Green Detergent Powder): The print advertisement’s claim “2x More Power” was not substantiated as the advertiser failed to provide any technical basis for this comparative claim. The advertisement contravened ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers.
  • Gomti River View Resorts and Farm House (Nilansh Theme Park Resort & Water Park): The print advertisement’s claim “Award Winner” was not substantiated as the advertiser did not provide copy of the award certificate, reference of the award received such as the year, source, category, the basis of the ward such as the details of the process as to how the selection for the award was done and the details about the awarding body.
  • Inter Solar Systems Pvt. Ltd: The print advertisement’s claim, “India's No.1 Solar Water Heater” was misleading as the advertiser did not submit relevant data to prove that they are in leadership position (No.1) than the other solar water heaters in India.
  • GTPL Hathway Limited (GTPL Fibre Broadband): The print advertisement’s claim “Gujarat’s No. 1 Fibre to Home Network” was inadequately substantiated as the advertiser did not submit relevant data nor did they provide the source of the comparative data of GTPL and other competitors.
  • Arti Developers: The print advertisement’s claim “No.1 in Title, Location and Price” was misleading as the advertiser failed to provide verifiable comparative data of its company and other land development companies. There was no proof that the advertiser’s company was in the leadership position (No.1) in providing projects that have better title, location and price as compared to their competition. The advertisement contravened ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers in advertising. 
  • Royal Technologies (Zetta Water Purifier): The print advertisement’s claim “India's Most Leading Company in RO & Water Purifier” was not substantiated with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s company and other RO and Water Purifier companies in India, to prove that they are in the leadership position (No.1) than all the rest, or through an independent third party validation. The advertisement also contravened ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers.
  • Benchmark Agencies Pvt (Alkaline Water Ionizer Benchmark Sapphire): The print advertisement’s claims, “Antioxidant” and “Boosts Immunity” is misleading as the advertiser is promoting an alkaline water ionizer. However, the advertiser did not provide any scientific rationale or technical test reports to indicate the efficacy of the product output water as an antioxidant or its ability in boosting immunity. 
  • Enagic India (Kangen Water Pvt Ltd) : The print advertisement’s claim “Useful in Psoriasis, Diabetes, B.P. High-low, Arthritis, Migraine, Ulcer, Mouth Ulcer, Acidity, Asthma, Thyroid, Cancer, Weight lose/Gain, Stone, Female diseases, Eye Disease, Prostate, Mental diseases and Insomnia” and “Kangen Water Maintains pH level balance in the body so the body remains Healthy” are misleading. The advertiser failed to present reports of any product efficacy, any information on brochure of the machine, and any scientific rationale or published scientific journal references to support the claims. There were no clinical data / third party test reports submitted for the benefits of the water claimed.

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