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Action against misleading advertisements

Monday, February 13, 2017
By Raju Vernekar

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has upheld complaints about 100 misleading advertisements related to healthcare, personal care, education, food and beverages and E commerce.

The ads in healthcare category included: Dr. Batra’s Homeopathy Family Clinic, which claimed to have cured over 10 lakh patients in 142 cities for hair fall, skin and other disorders. It also offered cure for sexual problems which was in violation of the Drugs & Magic Remedies Act. Similarly “ Nova Pulse IVF Clinic Private Limited” claimed to have carried out over 10,000 IVF pregnancies. The claim was unsubstantiated. Similarly the catch line of the “Richfeel Health & Beauty Pvt. Ltd”’s ad offered better hair growth just for Re.1with a visual of 1 rupee coin. However the body copy of the ad states the treatment costs as Rs. 60,000/-.

Under personal care category the Hindustan Unilever’s ads  “The new Lakme Youth Infinity range keeps the contoured look of youth”, and “Percentages of women who have experienced the sculpting power of Lakme Youth Infinity Day Crème” were found to be unsubstantiated and misleading. “ Marico Ltd”s ad “Parachute Advanced apnaiye aur paiye World’s Best Hair”, was found to be misleading and exaggerated.

In education category “Swadesh Competition Classes, Jodhpur, Rajasthan”’s claim of offering Government job in 3 months was found to be unsubstantiated since there was no data to support the claim. “Orane Institute of Beauty & Wellness” made false claim of having largest network of beauty and wellness Institutes in Delhi-Punjab-Chandigarh-Gujarat-Rajasthan-Haryana-Himachal Pradesh”. It also made a false claim of  “100 per cent Job Assistance” through the institute .

Under the Food and Beverages category GlaxoSmithKline’s claim that “Horlicks”, “Helps Manage Healthy Blood Pressure”, was found to be misleading by ambiguity and implication.

In E commerce category, “ Amazon India” ad found to be offering “HTC Desire 620G Dual Sim” for the discounted price of Rs.7375, whereas the actual MRP was Rs.9990. “ Cleartrip”’s advertisement was also found to be misleading. Similarly “Magic Bricks” a property site made false leadership claim. Its website did not quantify the total number of properties displayed or sold.

Also, “Bridgestone India”’s  claim that its tyres were eco-friendly was exaggerated. The stunts in normal traffic shown in Bajaj Auto’s ad was in disregard to safety and sought to encourages violation of traffic rules. Similarly Idea Cellular’s ad "ek jaroori suchna! abhi call karen 53111 aur payen 50 Rs ka free recharge”, was false and misleading.Philips Appliances’s ad offering life long free service was also misleading.

In other categories, Indigo Airlines’s offer “With fares starting at just Rs.858, book till 8th November 2016 for travel between 11th January 2017 and 11th April 2017”, was false since no such flight fare exist. Besides, there was no specific information about which route or for which flight this offer was valid.

ASCI’s role has been acclaimed by various Government agencies, including The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and Ministry of AYUSH. The Supreme Court of India in its recent judgement also affirmed and recognized the self-regulatory mechanism put in place for advertising content by ASCI.

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