Advertising industry watchdog Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI)’s Consumer Complaint Council (CCC) has upheld complaints against 98 out of 159 advertisements in June this year.
The report mentions defaulting ads from some of the big firms across sectors.
Out of 98 ads against which complaints were upheld, 39 belonged to the education category, 25 in the healthcare and personal care products category, followed by 11 in the food and beverage, six in e-commerce and 17 in other categories.
Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd has been rapped for three misleading advertisements in health and personal care as well as food and beverage categories.
The first one for its toothpaste brand Dant Kanti, which takes a dig at multinational fast moving consumer goods companies that now talk about natural tooth cleaning sources taking cue from Patanjali.
The second ad for Patanjali Juices claims that they provide more fruit pulp than the existing brands in the market, which is unsubstantiated.
The third ad for the energy bar claims that eating chocolate is bad for health which, according to the regulator, is not substantiated and unfairly denigrates the chocolate category.
Responding to the ASCI report, S.K. Tijarawala, spokesperson for Patanjali Ayurved, said, “ASCI is an unconstitutional body. It has no authority to question us. The Bombay high court, in an order last year, flayed ASCI for its high handedness despite not being a regulator. ASCI’s actions are nothing but a collective conspiracy by some multi-national companies. We have already filed a case against ASCI in Bombay high court. The hearing is on 21 September.”
Meanwhile, Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Limited was also hauled up for Amul Epic Choco Almond campaign owing to the misleading visual on its packaging. The visual shows the product core to be dark brown implying that the product contains more of chocolate whereas the core of the product is not as dark as depicted on the pack.
Organic India Pvt. Ltd. which manufactures Tulsi Green Tea brand claims to have antioxidants which help to prevent ageing. This claim was inadequately substantiated with the absence of clinical data.
The industry watchdog also cracked a whip on six e-commerce companies for misleading ads. One97 Communications Limited which runs online payments firm Paytm was hauled up for a television commercial that shows a motorcyclist using Paytm at a petrol pump while another scene in the ad shows distance between the person using the mobile device and petrol pump is visibly closer than three meters, which violates Clause C (3) of 4th Schedule of the Petroleum Rules, 2002.
Cab-hailing service Uber India Systems Private Ltd ad promoted its bike-sharing product called Uber Moto by offering a flat Rs10 rate.
However, the ad omitted the mention of the validity period leading to ambiguity.
The other defaulters in this category included Naaptol Online Shopping Pvt. Ltd, Policy bazaar Insurance Web Aggregator Private Limited, PrintVenue.com, and ibibo Group Private Limited.
In the others category, Arvind Lifestyle Brands Limited’s outdoor ads for its apparel brand Flying Machine used headlines such as ‘What an Ass!’ and ‘Kiss My Ass’ along with visuals of a woman presented in a specific posture which objectifies them.
ASCI found the ad indecent and vulgar.
“Most companies (both multinationals and home-grown) mentioned in the June report have, by and large, complied with our regulations. Either they have withdrawn the ad or modified it and in case of technical claims the company has sought CCC review. Meanwhile we have seen a gradual rise in the complaints from the e-commerce sector in the last three years. Although, most of these companies are not ASCI members they comply with the regulations,” said Shweta Purandare, secretary general, ASCI.