Ad watchdog finds 143 firms guilty of giving false advertisements

Mumbai, April 17
The Advertising Standard Council of India’s (ASCI) Consumer Complaints Council upheld complaints against 143 of 191 firms whose claims in their advertisements were found to be misleading or false or not scientifically substantiated in violation of its code, said the watchdog in a statement here on Monday.
The complaints were in diverse segments dealing with consumer goods or products such as healthcare, education, personal care, food and beverages and eight other categories.
“Maximum complaints were against 102 firms in the healthcare sector for their misleading or false advertisements followed by 20 in education, 7 in personal care, 6 in food and beverages and eight in other sectors,” according to the statement.
Among the firms whose ads were in contravention to the Drug & Magic Remedies Act and the Council’s code were Proyurveda Lifescience Ltd, Nurture Health Care (Medora Capsules), Qi Lifecare Ltd and Shree Maruti Herbal for capsules, oils and gel.
“For instance, Proyurveda’s ad claimed that its capsules or gel helped in protecting joint cartilage by reducing regeneration and in treating the root cause of joint pain,” asserted the statement.
Similarly, Nurture Health Care’s ad (in Marathi) claimed its Medora capsules “would deliver weight reduction without lifestyle changes” was not substantiated with evidence of product efficacy, and is misleading by exaggeration.
Likewise, the Council found that in the education sector claims by 20 firms were not substantiated and were in violation of its guidelines. Among them were Vidyamandir Classes and Cadd Centre India Ltd. “Cash reward worth 2 crore” by Vidyamandir was not substantiated with evidence of students receiving the amount. While ‘First time in India! 1,000 jobs in 100 days for Cadd Quest participants and job guarantee for 1,000 students were not substantiated with verifiable data,” said the statement. In personal care, Nivea India Ltd and Hindustan Unilever Ltd were pulled up for misleading with ambiguity in their print and visual ads.
“With precious Nivea Creme ingredients is likely to mislead consumers that Nivea Protect & Care Deodorant has skincare ingredients of Nivea Creme when the common element of both products is the Nivea Fragrance. These claims are misleading by ambiguity,” the Council said.
In case of HUL, it’s Rin Antibac ad claiming to have “Ayurvedic extracts to remove germs” was misleading by implication and exaggeration as the product does not have the property to provide germ protection in wear conditions.
In Food & Beverages (F&B) category, S.V. Fruit, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation and Coca-Cola India Ltd made false claims in their ads on their products.
“The Gujarat milk body claimed its Amul butter being a rich source of Vitamin A with ‘Eat milk with every meal and live every day worry-free’. But the ad’s latter part is misleading as it encourages excessive consumption of milk, which is not advisable,” it said.
The Council also found Standard Chartered Bank and Apple India Ltd of misleading the public with wrong information and false assurances.
“Apple’s ad says the amazing iPhone 7 is here, but shows an image of iPhone 7 Plus variant, which is misleading by ambiguity and implication, while SCB ad claimed ‘Get up to 10 per cent extra cashback on all spends with your Standard Chartered credit card’, which is false and misleading as the cashback being offered is limited to Rs 10,000 only,” added the statement.
As a self-regulatory organisation to promote and uphold ethical and healthy principles and practices of advertising, the Council deals with complaints from consumers and industry against advertisements considered false, misleading, indecent, illegal, leading to unsafe practices or unfair to competition.

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