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ASCI upholds complaints against Aaj Tak and CNN News18

MUMBAI: The Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) has upheld complaints against Hindi news channel Aaj Tak and English news channel CNN News18 for false advertisement claims.

In March 2017, ASCI upheld complaints against 214 out of 280 advertisements.

Out of 214 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 175 belonged to the Healthcare category, 21 to the Education category, followed by 7 in the Food & Beverages category and 11 from other categories.

The claim against TV Today Network’s Hindi news channel Aaj Tak state that the ad’s claim of Aaj Tak’s urban viewership crossing India TV’s All India Viewership (Source : BARC, 08 Nov 16, TG 15+ NCCS AB, Time Band 2000-2400, imp’000) was not acceptable. It was noted that as per the recently circulated guidelines for single event reporting, the announcement of demonetisation could be considered as single event reporting. However, the advertiser did not provide any data to show that impressions delivered are 25% above the same time band average for the previous four weeks or that impressions delivered are more than 20% of the full day impressions on the specified day, which is required as per the specific criteria in the BARC guidelines on Single Event reporting. This was in violation of the BARC principles and specific criteria for single event reporting.

TV 18 Broadcast’s English news channel CNN News18’s ad, on the other hand had the visual representation of charts suggesting the claims, “CNN-News18 is the No.1 English News Channel”. It was noted that the chart used in the ad violates the ‘Visual Representation’ Guidelines. The guideline states, “Visual representations help the intended recipient of a commercial message. They must adhere to the following principles – Axes of a graph must be orthogonal, at 90°, Scaling must be linear, The Y-axis must generally intercept the X-axis at value 0. If an alternative value is used, this must be clearly indicated both on the chart and in its legend.”

Though the complaint of misleading comparison was not considered to be objectionable, the visual representation shown is not in compliance with BARC guidelines and therefore represents a misleading comparison.