A total of 342 advertisements were investigated by ASCI out of which 110 advertisements were immediately withdrawn
In the month of January 2020, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) investigated complaints against 342 advertisements out of which 110 advertisements were immediately withdrawn by the advertisers on receipt of communication from ASCI. The independent Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI evaluated the remaining 232 advertisements, of which complaints against 208 advertisements were upheld. Of these 208 advertisements, 83 belonged to the education sector, 64 belonged to the healthcare sector, eight to personal care, seven belonged to the real estate sector, five to the food and beverages sector, and 41 were from the ‘others’ category.
According to ASCI, it exercised the “Suspension Pending Investigation” (SPI) option to fast track a complaint against an extremely offensive advertisement of an online content app. The advertisement shown as a user uploaded content involved the use of expletive and swear words as well as use of obscene language. The advertiser was instructed to pull down the objectionable advertisement within 48 hours. Moreover, another advertisement that violated ASCI’s guidelines for celebrities in advertising was also addressed. The intra-industry complaint was against an advertisement by a pipes and fittings company featuring a Bollywood celebrity that misled consumers by implying that they are selling zero defect pipes.
An FMCG giant, while presenting their ketchup as an accompaniment to meals was seen discrediting home cooked food and disparaging good food practices by calling it to be “boring” roti-sabji. Another FMCG company misled consumers by claiming that its soap was recommended by Doctors and is capable of reducing risk of skin problems by up to 95%. Moreover, two popular alcohol brands were seen using surrogate advertising by promoting a music CD and travel experience, respectively.
For the month of January, the CCC saw misleading advertisements of several IVF hospitals and fertility clinics guaranteeing success and claiming to be the best. There were also a number of real estate advertisements making leadership claims which were unsubstantiated.