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ASCI upholds complaint against Aaj Tak ads

According to the Consumer Complaints Council of ASCI, the channel's ads on viewership during demonetisation address by PM Modi were against BARC guidelines on correct use of data

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | January 19, 2017


The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of Advertising Standards Council of India has upheld a complaint against Aaj Tak’s ads and ruled that those ads were against BARC guidelines on correct use of data.

According to the decision taken by CCC - a copy of which is available with BestMediaInfo - the channel used only four hours' data when the news of demonetisation was announced. "The ads showed that the news channel accumulated 25 per cent market share and claimed that the channel’s urban viewership crossed India TV’s All India Viewership on November 8, 2016. (Source: BARC, November 8, 2016, TG 15+ NCCS AB, Time Band 2000-2400, Impressions '000)," observed the council.

Upholding the complaint, the CCC remarked, "The complaint, filed by India TV, was considered by the council at its meeting and the advertiser was offered an opportunity for personal hearing with the ASCI secretariat. The advertiser’s representatives did not opt for personal hearing and submitted their written response."

The CCC viewed the ad emailers and also took into consideration the advertiser’s response.  Aaj Tak argued that they had been following BARC guidelines. They said several of their competitors were violating the norms.

The CCC noted that the data in the email, which was compiled from the four hours' coverage of demonetisation on November 8, 2016, cannot be considered as an event. "Therefore the basis for the claim, “Aaj Tak’s urban viewership crossed India TV’s All India Viewership” – Source : BARC, 08 Nov 16, TG 15+ NCCS AB, Time Band 2000-2400, imp'000, was not acceptable. The CCC considered the Ad – emailer to be misleading by ambiguity and implication," ruled the council.

The CCC said that as per the disclaimer put by the advertiser for the claims, the ads were based on one day data (November 8, 2016) and not four consecutive weeks of data as per BARC. Therefore it is violative of BARC principles, it said.

"The subject matter of comparison is chosen in such a way so as to confer an artificial advantage upon the advertiser so as to suggest that a better bargain is offered than is truly the case. The ad emailer contravened Chapters I.1, I.3, I.4 and IV.1(b) of the ASCI Code," the CCC said.

Upholding the complaint, the ASCI has advised Aaj Tak to withdraw or modify the said advertisement. Meanwhile, in a statement to BestMediaInfo, Aaj Tak has said that it is defending its case to establish that it was "an event".

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