208 complaints against misleading ads in Jan by ASCI

ASCI upholds 208 complaints against misleading advertisements in January

Advertising sector watchdog ASCI investigated in January complaints against 342 advertisements, of which 110 were withdrawn immediately and 208 were upheld, including those of Prince Pipes, Bajaj Auto, Dabur, P&G, HUL, PayPal, among others.

Actor Akshay Kumar's brand campaign for Prince Pipes and Fittings, claiming "zero defect" products, was among the ads that faced flak from the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a self-regulatory body of the industry.

The Bollywood actor also does not seem to have done any due diligence before endorsing the product as Prince Pipes did not present any evidence towards this effect, the ASCI said in a statement.

In the monthly data shared by the body a maximum 83 ads were from the education sector, 64 from healthcare, 8 from personal care and seven from the real estate sector.

In the Prine Pipes ad featuring Akshay Kumar, the claim of 'Zero Defect' carries an asterisk, which is qualified to mention 'zero defect manufacturing process' which may not result in 'zero defect product', the body said, adding that the advertiser was also not able to prove the 'Zero Defect' claim.

The Prince ad is misleading, exploits consumers' lack of knowledge and can lead to widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers, the ASCI statement said, adding campaigns from Hero Motorcorp and HT Media were also found to be erring on the same grounds.

FMCG major Hindustan Unilever's campaign for Kissan Ketchup was also found to be misleading for its claim of "boring roti-sabji ko banaiye yummy kissan roll" because it discredited regular roti-subji by calling it boring and also disparaged good food practices. 

In the case of Paypal, a Whatsapp advertisement's claim of 100 per cent cashback voucher was not substantiated, while for Dabur India, it was a TV ad's messaging of "With Fairness get Flawless skin" which was found to be in contravention of the set guidelines.

For P&G, a TV ad of shampoo brand Heads and Shoulders' which made the claim of "make hair straight" was not substantiated, while for a Bajaj Pulsar ad, visuals of a boy seated on a trolley and speeding in it in a supermarket store, a boy dressed in superman costume jumping off a diving platform into an isolated swimming pool with no lifeguard shown and boys shown to be standing on a water slide and tumbling were found to be objectionable, the ASCI said.