Advertising sector watchdog ASCI upheld complaints against 114 misleading advertisements in April this year, including those of PharmEasy, Kingfisher Radler, Indulekha shampoo, Dove shampoo, among others.
It investigated complaints against 206 advertisements, of which 49 advertisers ensured prompt corrective action once they received the complaints from the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), while 43 were not found to be objectionable, it said in a statement.
It evaluated 157 advertisements, of which 114 advertisements were held misleading. Of these 59 belonged to the education sector, 35 belonged to the healthcare sector, five to personal care, two to the food and beverages sector and 13 were from the other category.
ASCI noted that online pharmacy PharmEasy's advertisement claim, '100 per cent Genuine Medicines' was not substantiated with any verifiable supporting data such as a list of registered FDA approved pharmacies who have tie-ups with the advertiser and how the advertiser ensures that all medicines supplied are 100 per cent genuine.
ASCI also pulled up Hindustan Unilever's Indulekha and Dove Shampoo advertisements and found them to be misleading.
"Indulekha Bringha Hair Cleanser is not directly beneficial for hair growth like Indulekha Bringha oil. The advertisement called out benefits of Indulekha Oil and presented Indulekha Hair Cleanser as an additional product. The hair cleanser product depicting mnemonic of hair root identical to that shown on the oil product pack and claiming 'prevents hair fall' was therefore considered to be misleading," it said.
It added that the disclaimer in fine print at the back of the package stating 'hair fall due to breakage', was in violation of ASCI guidelines for disclaimers.
The Dove intense repair shampoo and conditioner advertisement claim 'new' was not substantiated for the product formulation.
"The advertiser did not submit any authentic and verifiable evidence comparing the composition of the old formulation of Dove intense repair and the re-launched version. The advertiser did not submit a physical sample of the old products as well. It was concluded that the claim 'new' was not substantiated for the product formulation and was misleading by implication", it said.
ASCI also found Nestle's breakfast cereal NesPlus Multigrain Koko's advertisement misleading by omission and ambiguity as its claim that the product remains crispy in warm milk did not mention the period of up to four minutes.
Similarly, it pulled up Mastercard India's television advertisement with MS Dhoni for its claim 'Bharat Ka Card' that implies leadership claim which was not substantiated and is misleading by ambiguity.
It observed that while the advertiser has taken a stance that their Mastercard is a payment gateway, the visual in the TVC shows a physical card.
"It was observed that there was no evidence showing the celebrity MS Dhoni had done due diligence prior to the endorsement. There was a violation of guidelines for celebrities in advertising," it said.
ASCI also found Paisabazaar's claim loan approval in two minutes with the key operative word provisional missing in the voice over as misleading by ambiguity and implication.