Advertising sector watchdog ASCI pulls up Hindustan Unilever, Himalaya, Ola, Vodafone, other misleading ads

By: | Published: May 10, 2018 5:47 PM

Advertising sector watchdog ASCI upheld complaints against 193 misleading advertisements in February, including those of Hindustan Unilever (HUL), Himalaya Drug Company, Ola, Vodafone, among others. The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) evaluated 290 complaints in the month.

ASCI pulls up ads (Image: Financial Express)

Advertising sector watchdog ASCI upheld complaints against 193 misleading advertisements in February, including those of Hindustan Unilever (HUL), Himalaya Drug Company, Ola, Vodafone, among others. The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) evaluated 290 complaints in the month. Amongst the 193 advertisements which it held misleading, 154 belonged to the healthcare category, 18 to the education category, eight to the food and beverages category, two to personal care and 11 were from other categories, ASCI said in a statement today. From the total of 187 advertisements picked by ASCI’s suo moto surveillance, complaints against 163 advertisements were upheld. Of the 103 advertisements complained against by the general public or by industry members, 30 advertisements were upheld by the CCC.

The watchdog upheld the complaint against Hindustan Unilever’s Lifebuoy Soap’s advertisement, stating that it was misleading by ambiguity and implication. “In the advertisement, the celebrity Kajol poses as a doctor, wherein she states ‘doctor se suno…Isiliye Silver
Lifebuoy’ and the last frame of the TVC, shows four people in white coat, giving an impression that doctors have endorsed the product. “In the absence of any market research data indicating that medical professionals, in general, recommend the advertised product, such visual presentation was considered to be misleading by ambiguity and implication,” ASCI said.

It pulled up Himalaya Drug Company’s baby care range advertisement for claiming it was the number one brand, it provides safest baby care products and most gentle baby care products, as “they were inadequately substantiated and were misleading by exaggeration and implication that other competitor products are less safe or less gentle”.

The advertising sector regulator found that RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group’s Too Yumm brand’s advertisement contravened ASCI guidelines on advertising of food and beverages. “The advertisement’s claims, ‘Eat Lot and Fikar Not’ and ‘Eat anytime, anywhere, as much’ encourage excessive consumption and product if overindulged as suggested in the TVC, it can add to calories, fat calories and sodium,” it said.

ASCI upheld complaints against cab aggregator Ola’s advertisement claim of ‘Ola Auto Rs 29 for four kilometres’, as misleading by omission of a qualifier that the offer is subject to terms and conditions.

The regulator also pulled telecom service provider Vodafone’s advertisement claim of unlimited calls Rs 198 per month as false and misleading in view of the capping of 250 minutes per day and 1,000 minutes per week.

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