Advertising watchdog ASCI upheld complaints against 114 misleading ads in August, including those pertaining to Hindustan Unilever (HUL), Bharti Airtel, Amazon and Dabur India. The Customer Complaints Council (CCC) of the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) received 193 complaints for the month, the regulator said in a release today. It upheld 51 complaints from the healthcare category, 31 (education), 17 (food and beverages), followed by 5 (personal care) and 10 from other categories. The CCC pulled up HUL for for its ‘Dove Hair fall Shampoo’ ad saying the “advertisement’s visuals showing lesser hair fall for Dove were misleading by exaggeration”.
The company was also marked for its Fair and Lovely anti-marks treatment advertisement, which claimed 100 per cent marks reduction. The watchdog said one of the pre-requisites of the study is the subjects are required to avoid exposure to the sun in excess of 30 minutes. “In absence of such disclaimer, the advertisement was considered to be misleading by omission,” the ASCI said, adding that the disclaimers are not clearly legible and not in compliance with the ASCI guidelines for disclaimers.
For Bharti Airtel’s advertisement claim of its Rs 244 tariff that said “unlimited local plus STD Airtel call +1GB/day 4G/3G/2G for 70 days (On 4G HS + 4G SIM)”, the ASCI said the advertisement was misleading by ambiguity and exaggeration as Airtel did not clarify if the said benefit claimed is indeed unlimited for local and STD or capped at a particular limit. “The advertisement contravened the ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers,” it added. Amazon was also pulled up for its parachute advanced coconut hair oil communication claiming that the MRP of the product is Rs 149 and is offered at a discounted price of Rs 142.
“The advertisement offering the product at the discounted price of Rs 142, when the actual MRP of the product is Rs 135, distorts facts and is therefore misleading consumers as to the actual discount being offered,” the watchdog said. For Dabur India’s advertisement of its Odomos claiming ‘yani machoro se best protection and isliye na machine se, na coil se, best protection sirf Dabur Odomos se’, the ASCI held that it was not substantiated and misleading by exaggeration.