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ASCI pulls up 15 misleading ads in September 2012

Ads from Education, Healthcare and FMCG sectors continue to dominate misleading ads found by Consumer Complaints Council

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | December 3, 2012

In September 2012, Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) upheld complaints made against 15 out of 22 advertisements. During the same period, it did not uphold complaints against 7 ads. The effective functioning of ASCI’s National Advertising Monitoring Service (NAMS) continues to help track down misleading advertisements that were otherwise missed as consumers did not lodge complaints to ASCI against them.

 

Complaints upheld:

 

Hindustan UnileverPepsodent Expert Protection Toothpaste: As per the complaint, the TVC claimed that “for effective cleaning in between teeth, we should use dental floss”.  The TVC also demonstrates how the dental floss needs to be used to clean in between teeth and implies that by using Pepsodent Expert Protection toothpaste, one would get the same cleaning benefit as provided by dental floss.  The TVC further claimed that Pepsodent Expert Protection toothpaste “contains germi-paste, floss-like inter dental action and long lasting freshening mouthwash”. The implications of these claims with regard to dental floss are  -  (1)  Instead of using dental floss, use Pepsodent Expert Protection toothpaste which provides effective inter dental cleaning i.e. effective cleaning in between teeth.  (2)  This also goes contrary to dentists’ advice that one should use dental floss for effective cleaning in between teeth. The CCC concluded that the visual depiction of the toothpaste having the triple benefit of a toothpaste, floss and mouthwash, was not adequately substantiated.  The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.

Hindustan Unilever - Dove Hair Fall Rescue Treatment:  As per the complaint, the TVC claims that, unlike other shampoos, Dove’s rescue treatment nourishes hair and make the roots strong in just two weeks. The CCC considered the technical data provided by the advertiser and concluded that the following claims were not substantiated:

(a) C“78% hair fall roots se hota hai”, was based on a test conducted in UK in 2008. This number is not representative for India.  (b) “Naya Dove Hair Fall Rescue Treatment – yeh balon ko nourish karein” (visual of action surrounding the hair bulb), “Super - Nourishes from the roots*   (qualifier - *Action in epidermal region.). The visual does not match with the super and shows nourishment below epidermal level.  (c) Data provided by the advertiser for “helps lock my hair to the roots, only in two weeks, gives freedom from hair fall worries“, did not adequately substantiate the claim.  Therefore the advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.

Ultratech India Limited - 18 Again Vaginal & Rejuvenating GelAs per the complaint, the print advertisement claims that, “it removes dry cells from vagina and replaces them with new cells”, “improves blood circulation”, “makes the vagina less vulnerable to infections”.  Also, the advertising product claiming “vaginal tightening and rejuvenation” is vulgar and obscene which might hurt sensibilities of women. The advertiser replied stating that “18 Again is approved by the Licensing Authority for vaginal tightening and rejuvenation on the basis of the ingredients prescribed in the Authoritative Books of Ayurveda as per First schedule of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and there is nothing in the advertisement except what is stated in the books and in accordance with the permission granted”.  The CCC concluded that whilst the advertiser provided the license approval given by the State FDA, in the absence of clinical studies, the claims made in the advertisement and cited in the complaint were not substantiated. The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.

Kimberly-Clark Lever Ltd - Huggies Total Protection Diapers: As per the complaint, the TVC claims that, “The New diaper from Huggies is clinically proven”.  This claim is qualified by a super that states, “Highly breathable diapers have been proven to reduce prevalence of diaper rash Akin et al Pediatric Dermatology 2001”. The pack claims, “Clinically proven to help prevent diaper rash”.    The TVC claim and the pack claim misleads the consumers into believing that a proper clinical test has been conducted on Huggies Total Protection diaper whereas in reality there is no clinical data on Huggies to support the claims.  The claim, “Huggies clinically proven” is a very broad claim and covers all the variants of Huggies.   The super stated in the TVC does not comply with the Guidelines laid down by ASCI.  Also the super is blurred and illegible from a consumer point of view. The advertisement contravened Chapter I.4 of the ASCI Code as substation provide for“clinically proven” claim is neither representative not adequately relevant given that testing was carried out in a different country with different cliamatic conditions and for a different product variant of the brand. The supers that appeared in the TVC were also not clearly legible thus contravening the regulations of ASCI’s minimum lettering size of supers.

AIHM Institute of Hotel Management - Polytechnic Diploma EngineeringAs per the complaint, the advertisement claims that AIHM gives “100% job guarantee”.  This claim needs to be substantiated with statistical and other necessary data. In response, the advertiser has apologized, claiming it was a printing mistake and has withdrawn the advertisement. The CCC concluded that the claim that AIHM “assures 100% job”, was not substantiated. The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.

The CCC noted the advertiser’s advice that the further release of the advertisement has been stopped.

Speedwings Aviation Academy - As per the complaint, in the TVC, the advertiser claims that the Speedwings Aviation Academy is World’s No. 2 aviation academy.   This claim needs to be substantiated with statistical and other necessary data. The CCC concluded that the claim of Speedwings Aviation Academy being the “World’s No.2 aviation academy”, was not substantiated.  The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.  The CCC noted the advertiser’s acceptance of the error and stoppage of the TVC.

G-NET Business School Computer Education - As per the complaint  about  the print advertisement, the advertiser claims that the G NET Business School gives 100% job guarantee. The CCC concluded that the claim, “gives 100% job guarantee”, was inadequately substantiated.  The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.

Poddar Group of Institutions -As per the complaint, in the print advertisement, the advertiser claims that Poddar International College has provided 10,000 placements so far. This claim needs to be substantiated with statistical and other necessary data. The CCC concluded that the claim that Poddar International College “has provided 10,000 Placements so far”, was not substantiated with adequate proof. The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.

Jaypee Infratech Limited -  As per the complaint, the TVC shows “a Tata Safari car driven by a ruffian looking actor who is drinking while driving and who later gets hauled up by the police.” In the TVC, Tata Safari brand is shown in wrong light and the logo etc. is visible throughout the advertisement. The CCC concluded that the “use of Tata Safari logo” violated Chapter IV.2 of the ASCI Code as the advertisement made unjustifiable use of the logo of the Complainant. The advertisement was also in contravention of Ch.IV.1 (e) of the Code where it discredits another product directly or by implication. The CCC noted the advertiser’s assurance that the said TVC is being modified appropriately by “removing the Tata Safari logo”.

Panasonic India Pvt. Ltd. – Panasonic Refrigerators: As per the complaint, the print advertisement claims that the Panasonic inverter saves up to 40% energy, the Panasonic Econavi saves upto 10% energy, Panasonic Refrigerators have International safety standards, they are Vitamin-safe (preserve vitamins)  and Ag clean (nonstop air purification, kills 99.9% bacteria). The advertiser needs to provide all necessary data to prove these claims. The advertiser stated that, “They are in the process of collecting necessary data and material establishing the truthfulness and the veracity of the claims being made in the advertisement for which they have requested for some time.” In the absence of scientific studies from the advertiser, the CCC concluded that the claims made in the advertisement and cited in the complaint were not substantiated.  The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.

 

Rejuvenation Centre -   As per the complaint in the print advertisement, the advertiser claims that Rejuvenation Centre “gives relief from knee pain without any surgery, 100% cure, no side effect, no need to get admitted in hospital, it gives remarkable results, which is not seen in any other treatment and also effective in curing stiffness in shoulders, cervical, back pain and wrist pain”. The advertiser needs to substantiate these claims with supporting clinical information and with details of reports of tests/ trials conducted by an independent recognized testing institution. In the absence of clinical data from the advertiser, the claims made in the advertisement and cited in the complaint were not substantiated.  The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.

 

Glaxosmithkline Pharmaceuticals Ltd. - Rota Virus Vaccine:  As per the complaint, the TVC says “the vaccine is the only way to reduce the incidence of infection and the fact that techniques like hand washing do not help”.  This is a misrepresentation of facts. Rota virus is spread by ingestion of the virus from contaminated food and water. Hygiene helps reduce the spread of infection. The vaccine causes a fivefold increase in intussusceptions, a serious surgical condition that can result in death if not treated urgently. This is not explained in the advertisement. The issues raised by the vaccine are complex and it cannot be allowed to issue a ‘direct to public’ advertisement in this misleading fashion. The CCC concluded that, the claim “Vaccine is the only way to reduce the incidence of infection”, was inadequately substantiated. And the statement, “Rota virus vaccine is the only way to treat Rota Virus” was misleading.  The advertisement contravened Chapters I.1 and I.4 of the Code.

Madhuraj Hospitals (P) Ltd. - As per the complaint, in the print advertisement, the advertiser claims, “More than 10,000 couples have benefited with children and complete treatment and diagnosis is provided for infertility in males and females”.The CCC concluded that the claims were inadequately substantiated. The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.  The CCC noted the advertiser’s assurance that the advertisement would not appear again in its present form.

Regency Hospital Ltd - As per the complaint, in the print advertisement, it has been claimed that the Regency Hospital promotes treatment for growing hair naturally in one day. This claim needs to be substantiated with statistical and other necessary data. The CCC concluded that the claims mentioned in the advertisement were inadequately substantiated.  The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.

Dr. Wilmar Schwabe India Pvt. Ltd. - Schwabe Products: As per the complaint, the TVC claims that Schwabe products are “World’s No.1 products and World’s most trusted brand for homeopathy medicines”.  These claims need to be substantiated with statistical and other necessary data. The CCC considered the comparative data provided by the advertiser and concluded that the claim that is the “World’s No.1”, brand for homeopathic medicines was substantiated. In the absence of a consumer research survey, the claim that it is the “World’s most trusted brand for homeopathy medicines”, was not substantiated, and contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.

During the month of September, the CCC also received complaints against 3 print  and 4 TV advertisements. The complaints were received against the advertisements of AGRON INDIA LTD’s Intimaxx, ALLERGAN HEALTH CARE INDIA P. LTD’s Juvederm Injectable Gel Filler, SRI MANAKULA VINAYAGAR ENGINEERING COLLEGE, “Sharda University”, “HEINZ INDIA P.  LTD’s Complan”, “Britannia’s Milk Bikis”, “HERO HONDA MOTORS LTD s Hero Maestro”. However, as these advertisements did not contravene ASCI’s codes or guidelines, the complaints were NOT UPHELD.

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