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MARKETING

ASCI gets 15 directs complaints - Tirumalla Oil & Rasna Native Haat Honey
Wednesday, 24 June, 2020, 15 : 00 PM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
During the months of March and April 2020, ASCI investigated complaints against 533 advertisements, of which 115 advertisements were promptly withdrawn by the advertisers on receipt of communication from ASCI. The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) evaluated remaining 418 advertisements, of which complaints against 377 advertisements were upheld. Of these, 377 advertisements, 187 belonged to the healthcare sector, 132 belonged to the education sector, 15 to the food & beverages sector, nine belonged to real estate sector, five to the personal care and the immigration sector each and 24 were from the ‘others’ category.

Around mid-March when Mumbai started its gradual lockdown, ASCI adapted quickly to navigate through these difficult times. Not only did the team manage to stay the course with minimal disruption; but also launched a drive to act against misleading advertisements claiming prevention or cure against Covid-19.

ASCI continues to see advertisements featuring celebrities in violation of ASCI’s “Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising”. Two advertisements of a veteran celebrity couple were considered to be misleading as they suggested that one can consume unrestricted quantities of deep fried food items such as batatavada and samosa and yet not worry about fitness if a particular brand of edible oil is used. The advertisement undermined the importance of regular exercise and healthy lifestyle. A renowned sportswoman endorsed a honey brand that made misleading claim of “No added sugar”.

The CCC observed that many liquor brand advertisements contravened ASCI's Guidelines for Qualification of Brand Extension Product or Service and hence were considered to be surrogate advertisements.
Rohit Gupta, Chairman, ASCI, said, “I am very proud of our ASCI team that has remained accessible and responsive to all stakeholders during this pandemic situation. Our Consumer Complaints Council has been very efficient as we continue to deliberate via videoconferencing. We appreciate the cooperation being extended by the complainants as well as the advertisers to ensure self-regulation of advertising content by ensuring time bound compliance.”

Food and Beverages: - 15 advertisements complained against Direct complaints (Two advertisements); Suo Motu Surveillance by ASCI (13 advertisements)

Direct Complaints
The advertisements given below were complained against by the general public or by industry members. Of the 92 advertisements complained against, 28 advertisements were promptly withdrawn by the advertiser on receiving communication from ASCI. For the remaining 64 advertisements, complaints against 23 advertisements were upheld by the CCC. Two belonged to the healthcare category, two belonged to education, food & beverage and personal care each. While, 15 advertisements belonged to the others category. Some  41 advertisements were not considered to be objectionable or in contravention of the ASCI code.

Food and Beverages
1.    The Kute Group (Tirumalla Oil): The television advertisement’s claims as translated from Marathi, “I regularly eat savoury snacks of my liking” and “If you have Tirumalla oil in the house, then you don’t have to worry about fitness” endorsed by Sachin and Supriya Pilgaonkar were not substantiated. The advertisement undermines the importance of healthy lifestyle and is misleading regarding the nature of nutritive value of the advertised product. The advertisement implies that if one uses Tirumalla Oil for daily cooking then they can regularly indulge in eating deep fried food (which generally is not considered advisable for health-conscious people) yet remain fit. The CCC also noted that the advertiser did not submit any product-specific details and FSSAI approval for the claims being made in the TVC, if any, any scientific rationale or clinical evidence of special properties of the product, to prove that the cooking oil alone maintains fitness of a person regardless of the diet followed or lack of exercise etc.  The advertiser did not provide any evidence to show that the celebrity had done due diligence prior to endorsement, to ensure that all description, claims and comparisons made in the advertisement are capable of substantiation. The advertisement contravenes the Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising.

2.    Rasna International Pvt. Ltd (Rasna Native Haat Honey): The print advertisement’s claim “No chemical”, “No preservatives” and “No added sugar” endorsed by Saina Nehwal were not substantiated. The advertiser did not submit any product-specific details such as composition / pack artwork, nor evidence of absence of any chemicals, preservatives or any added sugar or any technical test report. Additionally, the advertiser did not provide any evidence to show that the celebrity had done due diligence prior to endorsement, to ensure that all description, claims and comparisons made in the advertisement are capable of substantiation. The advertisement contravened ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising.
 
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