Consumer Complaints Council evaluated 271 advertisements, of which complaints against 248 advertisements were upheld
Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) investigated complaints against 408 advertisements out of which 137 ads were withdrawn by the advertisers when contacted by ASCI. The independent Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI evaluated 271 advertisements, of which complaints against 248 advertisements were upheld. Interestingly, out of 248 advertisements, 159 belonged to the education sector, 44 belonged to the healthcare sector, eight to personal care, four to the food and beverages sector, and 33 were from the ‘others’ category.
For Shweta Purandare, secretary general, ASCI, 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 encouraging negligence. Moreover, celebrities should check the authenticity of the claims they endorse and serve the role of informed influencers,” she added.
According to ASCI, several advertisements featuring celebrities were upheld for making misleading claims. For instance, a diagnostic company’s ad which featured Bollywood actor, endorsed their claim of the diagnostic lab being “preferred by most doctors”, which was considered to be misleading by exaggeration and implication. Moreover, a toothpaste brand also featuring an actor misled consumers by claiming 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.
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. For instance, a television commercial (TVC) showing a pillion riding barber shaving a policeman in uniform on his way to work was considered to be inappropriate, violating ASCI Guidelines for Advertisements depicting Automotive Vehicles. Furthermore, complaint against a drama serial promo indicating the protagonist doing self-harm by stifling her neck with a cloth (duppata) was also upheld.
Established in 1985, ASCI was created for the cause of self- regulation in advertising ensuring the protection of the interest of consumers. ASCI looks into complaints across all media such as print, TV, radio, hoardings, SMS, emailers, internet, website, product packaging, brochures, promotional material and point of sale material etc.