ASCI pulls up cos for unsubstantiated ad claims

Written by Lalitha Srinivasan | Mumbai | Updated: Dec 18 2013, 08:43am hrs
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), the watchdog of the Indian advertising industry, has pulled up several companies for what it perceives are misleading claims.

Among the companies, Colgate-Palmolive India and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare have been pulled up for their advertisements of Colgate Strong toothpaste and Junior Horlicks drink, respectively.

ASCIs Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) has also upheld complaints against Hindustan Unilever (HUL) for its print advertisement for Ponds Age Miracle. While HUL has assured ASCI that they will modify its print ad for Ponds Age Miracle, GlaxoSmithKine Consumer Care has already modified its ad for Junior Horlicks.

In the last three months, ASCIs CCC has upheld complaints against 121 advertisements in the health, personal care and education sectors.

If companies substantiate their claims and our CCC accepts it, they can continue with their ads. And when they fail to do so, our CCC upholds these complaints. Then the companies will either modify or withdraw the concerned ads, ASCI secretary general Allen Colaco said.

According to Colaco, HUL has assured ASCI that they will modify its print advertisement of Ponds Age Miracle, which claims You can look up to 10 years younger. Colgate-Palmolive India has partly substantiated its claims for no cavities only for its variant brand Colgate Super Shakti, he added.

With increasing competition in the Indian FMCG sector, many companies are now opting for aggressive advertising campaigns to grab the attention of consumers. Increasingly, FMCG companies are pulled up for claims that are not substantiated. ASCI gets both consumer as well as intra-industry complaints against tall claims made by personal care and healthcare companies, said an industry analyst with a domestic brokerage firm in Mumbai

In the case of GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Health Care, ASCIs CCC upheld consumer complaints against the companys print advertisement for Junior Horlicks, which claimed that it is an added supplement having contents like DHA and Choline in the product that are important for childs brain development and competent and reliable scientific evidence supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids like DHA.

GSK has modified the print advertisement of the same in the market and is in compliance. Junior Horlicks claim that essential brain functions develop in the early years was not considered to be false, said a spokesperson from GSK.

After formulating guidelines for automotive advertising and educational institutes, ASCI is currently working on guide lines for fairness creams advertising in the personal care sector in India.

Recently, the Delhi High Court has directed HUL to withdraw its print advertisement for Pepsodent Germicheck saying the same appears to be prima facie disparaging of the Colgate brand.

On August 9, HUL had launched its Pepsodent Germichecks advertisement, which compared the toothpastes germ attack power with Colgate Strong Teeth claiming that Pepsodent Germi check has 130% superior germ attack power over Colgate Strong Teeth after four hours of brushing.