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With NAMS, ASCI doubles number of misleading ads monitored

CCC upholds complaints against 16 out of 23 advertisements in October 2012

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | January 2, 2013

Since its inception in May 2012, ASCI’s National Advertising Monitoring Service (NAMS) has been successful in doubling the number of misleading ads that have been registered with CCC in the first six months of the year. In relative terms, the number of ads against which complaints have been upheld has jumped significantly from 177 over the full year last year to 205 within six months in the current year (May to October 2012). NAMS has been instrumental in rigorously tracking most of the advertisements being released across print and television.

Commenting on this achievement, ASCI Chairman Arvind Sharma said, “This is a commendable milestone for the the National Advertising Monitoring Service initiative introduced by ASCI, as we have been successful in doubling the number of misleading ads tracked within a very short period. NAMS is equipped to closely scrutinise a wide range of ads, thus preventing the exposure of misleading communication. We are confident that NAMS initiative will go a long way in not just helping the ad self-regulation redressal process manifold, but also in safeguarding the interest of Indian consumers.”

October 2012 CCC decisions by ASCI

During October 2012, the CCC upheld complaints against 16 out of 23 ads. There has been a notable rise in complaints against education sector ads being upheld. Companies in the healthcare, personal care and insurance space were also seen to be releasing ads that make misleading claims.

Sector

Advertiser

Advertisement

Complaint

CCC Remark

Food & Beverage Glaxosmithkline Consumer Healthcare (*) Horlicks:(*Refer Note 1 for additional details on this ad) As per the complaint, the print advertisement claims, “1 Health Drink, 5 Proven Benefits”, “Clinically proven” with a super “claims based on a study by NIN Hyderabad comparing micronutrients enriched beverage vs non-fortified placebo”. These claims are misleading and unsubstantiated as it does not disclose the year in which the said study was conducted and fails to disclose whether the product tested as part of the study was Horlicks. The advertisement states that, “In an extensive 14-month clinical research involving 869 kids, half the kids were given Horlicks with milk and the other half kids were given an ordinary health drink.  As a result of this study, Horlicks kids were found to have more bone area, more muscles, better concentration, more active nutrients and healthier blood. Making Horlicks India’s only health drink shown to improve 5 signs of growth in children”.“Making Horlicks India’s only health drink & shown to improve 5 signs of growth in children”, is false and misleading.  The advertiser has failed to disclose the source of any well researched / accepted literature or reputed institute that suggests or recognizes these signs as “signs of growth”. The advertisement does not disclose themanner inwhich Horlicks provides comprehensive nutrition as has been claimed in the advertisement. The recommendation of Horlicks in every glass of milk is in contradiction with its own recommendation on the pack of Horlicks.  Whereas the Horlicks pack, which also makes the same claim of 5 signs of growth, recommends Horlicks to be taken either in milk or water, both the print and the electronic advertisement recommend that Horlicks be taken with milk. The CCC noted that 5 out of the7 claims did not follow the guidelines prescribed by ASCI.  The complaint was UPHELD.
Personal Care Cadila Healthcare  (*) Everyuth Natural Fairness Face Wash As per the complaint, the advertiser claims that Everyuth Natural Fairness Face Wash “is the only one to have active mini capsules that clear the skin and make it look fair”. Advertiser needs to provide scientific proof and comparative data in substantiation of the claim.The data submitted by the advertiser is not a technology unique to them.    The CCC concluded that the scientific data provided did not adequately support the claim that Everyuth Natural Fairness Face Wash “is the ONLY one to have active mini capsules that clear the skin and make it look fair”.  The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
Hindustan Unilever (*) Pepsodent Expert Protection Toothpaste As per the complaint aboutthe print advertisement, the complainant got the impression that she does not need to use dental floss or mouth wash as Pepsodent Expert Protection Toothpasteclaims to provide the same equivalent benefits. On minutely going through this print advertisement, it shows a postscript at the end of the same which cannot be read at all.  The CCC noted that the super in the press advertisement did not meet the Guidelines on Supers Size prescribed by ASCI. The complaint was UPHELD.The CCC noted the advertiser’s assurance that they have stopped the advertisement.
Healthcare VLCC Personal Care VLCC Health Care Shape Up As per the complaint, the advertiser claims that VLCC Health Care Shape Up “tones waist in just 3 weeks”. This claim needs to be substantiated with statistical and other necessary data. In the absence of a control group, the clinical data submitted by the advertiser did not adequately substantiate the claim that ‘VLCC Shape Up “tones waist in just 3 weeks”.  The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.  The complaint was UPHELD. 
VLCC  Personal  Care  VLCC  Shape  Up  Waist  and  Tummy  Trim  Gel As per the complaint, the advertisement claims that, “It complements your regular exercises like walking, dieting, stretching etc. by melting that stubborn fat around the waist & tummy area”,  “Natural, safe and easy to use; this gel will help you discover a slimmer you in just 3-6 weeks”.The advertiser should provide supporting technical data, details of tests/trials conducted, with comparative data in substantiation of these claims. The CCC concluded that although the product is positioned as a complementary treatment, the advertisement was considered misleading because it implies that the usage of the product melts fat in specific areas.  This has not been adequately substantiated through clinical trials.  The advertisement contravened Chapters I.1 and I.4 of the Code.  The complaint was UPHELD. 
Education IVYGMAT GMAT Prep Course As per the complaint, the advertisement claims, “356 students scored in the range of 760-790 marks in the last one year”,  “Train with the perfect 800 score trainer with minimum official GMAT Score”,  “the only trainer in India with a verbal score of 99th percentile”.These claims appear to be false.  The advertiser should substantiate these claims with supporting data.  The CCC concluded that the claims made in the advertisement and cited in the complaint were inadequately substantiated. The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.  The complaint was UPHELD. 
Institute Of Finance & Accounts 100% Job Guarantee As per the complaint, the advertiser claims that the Institute of Finance & Accounts “gives 100% Job Guarantee”. This claim needs to be substantiated with statistical and other necessary data. The CCC concluded that the claim that IFA “gives 100% job guarantee” was not adequately substantiated.   The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.  The complaint was UPHELD. 
VPM Classes   As per the complaint, the advertiser claims that the “VPM Classes”, is India's no.1 coaching institute for higher education, having 800+ selections in MSc/ PhD/ MTech exams”.  It also claims to have “India's best performance in NET/IIT JAM”. These claims need to be substantiated with statistical and other necessary data. The CCC concluded that in the absence of comparative data of other institutes, the claims that VPM Classes “is India’s No.1 coaching institute for higher education”, and that it has “India’s best performance in NET / IIT JAM”, were not substantiated.  The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.  The complaint was UPHELD. 
NIBM Po Maker Institute   As per the complaint, the advertiser claims that the “NIBM PO Maker Institute” has an important role in providing placements to more than 1,000 students during the last ten years and also claims to have been honoured as No. 1 in Jharkhand.  These claims need to be substantiated with statistical and other necessary data. The CCC concluded that, in the absence of adequate relevant data, the claim that “NIBM has provided placement to more than 1000 students since the last 10 years”, was not substantiated.  The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.  The complaint was UPHELD. 
Sky Academy   As per the complaint, the advertiser claims that Sky Academy is “India’s No.1 Air Hostess/Flight Stewards Training Institute & offers 100% job placement”. These claims need to be substantiated with statistical and other necessary data.  The CCC concluded that the claims mentioned in the advertisement and cited in the complaint, were not adequately substantiated.   The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.  The complaint was UPHELD.
  Electronic Technology & Telecommunication   As per the complaint, the TVC claimsthat“ET& T ET & T-VC training provided in the institute helps earn 30k-40k per month”.  This claim needs to be substantiated with necessary statistical data.  The CCC concluded that in view of inadequate proof the claim, “ET & T ET & T-VC training provided in the institute helps earn 30k-40k per month”, was not substantiated.  The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.  The complaint was UPHELD. 
Media Dainik Bhaskar Group (*) Fast-tracking your way to success As per the complaint, the brochure claims Dainik Divya Marathi “to be No.1 in terms of circulation and readership”.  The advertiser has provided `In-house MIS’ and `IMRB’ as the source of their claim. The figures are neither supported by the Audit Bureau of Circulation nor by the IRS.  Also, they have provided incorrect advertising market share figures for various categories without mentioning any source.  Thus the figures are intentionally misleading.  The CCC noted the contents of the brochure and concluded that the claim that Dainik Divya Marathi “is the No. 1 in terms of circulation and readership”, was not substantiated by  ABC or IRS data. The advertisement – brochure contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.  The complaint was UPHELD.The CCC noted the advertiser’s response that the said brochure has already been withdrawn.
Dainik Bhaskar Group (*) How Divya Marathi opened the new market As per the complaint, the brochure claims Divya Marathi “to be No.1 in terms of circulation copies”.  Neither has the advertiser given any reference to any source and nor are the figures supported by `Audit Bureau of Circulation’.  Thus the figures are intentionally misleading, and create confusion amongst agencies and advertisers. The CCC noted the contents of the brochure and concluded that the claim that Dainik Divya Marathi “is the No. 1 in terms of circulation copies”, was not substantiated by the ABC.   The advertisement – brochure contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.  The complaint was UPHELD.The CCC noted the advertiser’s advice that the said Brochure has already been withdrawn. 
Insurance Max Life Insurance (*) Shiksha Plus II child plans As per the complaint, the advertiser claims that Max Life has “lowest child insurance plan in insurance history’’. This claim needs to be substantiated with statistical and other necessary data. The CCC concluded that in view of the absence of comparative data, the claim that Max Life has “lowest child insurance plan in insurance history”, was not substantiated.  The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.  The complaint was UPHELD.The CCC noted the advertiser’s advice that the said advertisement was not authorized by them. 
Others Alda Chimney   As per the complaint, the advertiser claims that “Alda Gallery - Best Marketing (Pondicherry)”, has the best kitchen chimney in India”.This claims needs to be substantiated with scientific evidence and appropriate market research data. The CCC concluded that, in the absence of comparative data, the claim that “Alda Chimney is the best kitchen chimney in India”, was not substantiated.  The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code.  The complaint was UPHELD.The CCC noted the advertiser’s advice that the said advertisement was released by one of their dealers, and the same advertisement will not appear again. 
  Sahara India TV Network (*) Sahara Q Shops As per the complaint, the TVC shows – 1) “a family enjoying their breakfast and suddenly Sachin Tendulkar starts performing the last rites of entire family while carrying a mud pot of water on his left shoulder”.2) “A mother is giving a body massage to a new born child, and she gets major shock when VirendraSehwag replaces the cradle of the baby with a hospital bed containing intravenous fluid bottle”.3) “A gentleman posed as some medical practitioner suggests the purchasing grocery or some other products can cause Paralysis, Brain Damage, Cancer, Glaucoma, Kidney Failure, without citing a source, statistics data or research to justify his claims”.This TVC is using fear and scare tactics to sell such products which are already adulteration-free.  The TVC shows portrait of young and healthy children in a disturbing manner.  The CCC concluded that the claims made in the advertisement and cited in the complaint, were inadequately substantiated, and the advertisement was misleading.  The advertisement contravened Chapters I.1 and I.4 of the Code.  The complaint was UPHELD. The CCC noted the advertiser’s advice that the said TVC was discontinued in August 2012.

Not upheld

During October, the CCC received complaints against seven additional advertisements of Preethi Kitchen Appliances’ ‘Preethi Mixer Grinders’, Modi Naturals’ ‘Oleev Active Oil’, Okaya  Power’s ‘Nasakaxtra  Pure  Water  Purifier’, Nails Arina, Om Sai Ayurved India, Cadbury India’s ‘Cadbury Dairy Milk’, and Johnson &  Johnson’s ‘Listerine  Mouthwash’. However, as these advertisements did not contravene ASCI’s codes or guidelines, the complaints were not upheld.

*Note 1: Additional info on Glaxosmithkline Consumer Healthcare (*): Horlicks ad

Listed below are the various misleading claims in the advertisement:

  • It is not clear whether the drink tested in the clinical research was Horlicks.
  • The advertisement refers to the experiment wherein “Horlicks with milk” was given to the children but fails to mention what exactly the beneficial impact of milk is.
  • The reference to the non-fortified placebo is vague as the advertisement states that the clinical research was carried out among 869 kids; half of them were given Horlicks with milk while the rest were given an ordinary health drink.  It is not clear what the advertiser is referring to a placebo because an ordinary health drink would also constitute nutrients and that is far different from a “placebo”.
  • It is not clear whether the other half of the kids which were fed with an ordinary health drink/placebo, were fed it with milk of same quantity or composition or otherwise and the benefit thereof were noted thereof.
  • Advertiser must provide the relevant scientific literature to prove that the muscle and bone can be built only with micro nutrients.  Advertiser must produce appropriate scientific substantiation that only nutrients that they measured are active nutrients and are responsible for 5 signs of growth.

The CCC considered the additional data submitted by the advertiser and concluded that:

  • The print ad states the claims were based on the study by NIN Hyderabad but does not indicate the date of the study. This is in contravention of Chapter I.2 of the ASCI Code.  The decision of complaint being upheld stands.
  • There was no data to adequately substantiate that the product being advertised has the same composition as the product tested in the clinical studies. This was misleading and contravened Chapter I.4 of the Code.  The advertisement also contravened Clause 1 of the Guidelines on Advertising of Food & Beverages directed at children less than 13 years of age.  This complaint was upheld.
  • The advertiser produced documents from NIN stating that the study was done by them on behest of GSK and that GSK was permitted to use the study for commercial purposes.  This complaint was not upheld.
  • Both the placebo and the product tested were given with milk to children. Hence the complaint that the advertisement fails to mention the beneficial impact of milk was NOT upheld.  This decision of complaint being NOT UPHELD stands.
  • The comparison of Horlicks with an ordinary health drink (voice over) was made in the advertisement whilst the study compares Horlicks with a non-fortified placebo. This is misleading and contravened Chapter 1.4 of the Code.  This decision of complaint being upheld stands.
  • The advertiser’s claim that the active nutrients are responsible for the five signs of growth are misleading as it is self – declaration of what the advertiser deems to be the 5 signs of growth and not based on any published data. The claim that muscle and bone can be built with micro nutrients is misleading as it contravened Chapter I.4 of the Code.  The advertisement also contravened Clause 1 of the Guidelines on Advertising of Food & Beverages directed at children less than 13 years of age.  This complaint was UPHELD.
  • The advertiser failed to provide comparative data of other similar products in order to substantiate the claim that Horlicks is the “only” health drink shown to improve 5 signs of growth in children. This was misleading and contravened Chapter 1.4 of the Code.  This decision of complaint being upheld stands.

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