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ASCI upholds 68 complaints in March

MUMBAI: Ad watchdog Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld 68 out of the 108 complaints it received against advertisements in March 2014.

Advertisements in the personal and healthcare sector category again accounted for the majority of advertisements—44 out of 68—against which complaints were upheld.

In the media sector, an advertisement against CNBC TV18 was upheld which claimed that it was the only channel India watched, during the FM’s speech, by relying on TAM ratings for the day (11:10 am 12:06 pm).

As per the CCC, the claim of Network18 for its channel is completely misleading, factually incorrect, unsubstantiated and even disparaging to the other news and non-news channels including Network18’s competitor channels and ET Now. The advertisement contravened Chapters I.1 and I.4 of the ASCI Code.

PVR Cinemas’ claim of unlimited refill offer on soft beverages was found misleading by omission of an appropriate disclaimer. The promotional material contravened Chapter I.4 of the ASCI Code.

In the health and personal care category, 44 advertisements were found to be either misleading or false or not adequately substantiated, and hence violated ASCI Code. Some of the healthcare products or services ads also contravened provisions of the Drug & Magic Remedies Act. Complaints were upheld against Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Wipro Ltd, Hamdard Laboratories India and others.

In the education sector, print ads by 14 advertisers were pulled up by the CCC for violating the ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions.

The food and beverages category saw ads being upheld against Cadbury India Ltd for its ad on 5 Star which contravened Chapter II of the code. The ad showcased ‘a lady giving birth to a baby who is laughing. The voiceover says that the babies used to be laughing while being born in earlier days and later they started crying at childbirth due to a disease called seriousness’.

The CCC concluded that the frames in the TVC showing the process of child birth are gross and offensive. The advertisement received 21 such complaints against it.

Other advertisers in the sector that were pulled up included Heinz India Pvt Ltd for Complan which contravened Guidelines on Advertising of Foods & Beverages – Clause 8, Diageo India Pvt Ltd whose ad appeared to be a surrogate ad for liquor – Vat 69 and contravened the Guidelines for Qualification of Brand Extension product or services, and Chapter III.6 of the ASCI Code.

The CCC also pulled up ads by Clues Network Pvt Ltd for Dell Wireless Mouse, Aditya Birla Management Corporation Pvt Ltd for Birla White Putty TVC, JCL Teleshopping, Arise India Ltd for Arise Inverters and Hiox Software Pvt Ltd.