The next time you buy a product or avail of a service, beware. The claim by the advertiser could not only be misleading, but also harmful.
The Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) upheld complaints against 54 out of 84 advertisements in September. Out of 54, 13 belonged to personal and healthcare category, followed by seven each in telecom and education, six in e-commerce and 15 in other categories.
The list includes Godrej Consumer, Marico, Flipkart, Philips Electronics, HDFC Bank, Bloomberg TV India, Max Bupa Health Insurance, Kerala Fashion Jewellery, Jaguar Group, HT Media Ltd. (Shine.com), Bharti Airtel, Marico ((Saffola Total), Ayurwin Pharmaceutical and S. A. Safiullah & Co. (Nizam Pakku).
Bharti Airtel's 4G ad claiming "Get the same data benefits as your 3G pack and enjoy superfast 4G speeds at no extra cost 'FREE 4G UPGRADE'", was found misleading because it omitted a disclaimer qualifying that the benefits offered under retail plans are not available to users under corporate plans.
HDFC Bank was pulled up for its advertisement wherein it claimed that the bank approves loan applications for two wheelers in 15 minutes.
"Loan approval in 15 minutes was not substantiated. Also the claim, 'Only KYC required to avail a loan', is misleading as other documents are also required to be submitted to avail the loan facility and the terms and conditions in the advertisement cannot over-ride the claim in the advertisement," the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI said.
Another company that was in the dock was Godrej Consumer Products for its Godrej No. 1 Soap, which the company claimed was the "purest soap."
The company could not substantiate the claim with comparative data of purity, said the CCC, and added, "...the claim, by implication, denigrated other soaps in the same brand category."
Philips Electronics was taken to task for its advertisement on modular switches, in which it showed spraying of liquid on the switches. The CCC found the company violating the code as it was "a dangerous practice which is likely to encourage minors to emulate such acts in a manner which could cause harm or injury".
HUL was held responsible for its Lux Scented Gold offer and Dove Elixir campaigns, and Flipkart for Tek-Tron velroc safety outdoor shoes.
Hindustan Unilever Dove Elixir's advertisement claim that the "coconut oil penetrates only through 1 layer in 30 minutes via visual representation" was found to be false and misleading, said the CCC.
The complete list can be read here.
In a related development, Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi said in the Lok Sabha on Friday, citing National Crime Records Bureau statistics, that 362 cases of indecent representation of women were reported in 2013, while the figure was 47 in 2014.