Ad­ver­tis­ing Reg­u­la­tions

Consumer Voice - - Misleading Ads -

The im­me­di­ate push for reg­u­la­tion has come from the Mad­hya Pradesh High Court. The court asked the con­sumer af­fairs min­istry to set up an ad-mon­i­tor­ing panel as rec­om­mended by the Vibha Bhar­gava Com­mis­sion. The com­mis­sion had sub­mit­ted its re­port in 2005 and it un­der­lined the ur­gent need to reg­u­late false claims by ad­ver­tis­ers of dif­fer­ent prod­ucts.

Ap­par­ently, mis­lead­ing ad­ver­tis­ing is most ram­pant in the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor and the health­care and per­sonal care space, ac­count­ing for more than half the to­tal num­ber of ad­ver­tise­ments found to have flouted the com­pli­ance norms and code of con­duct of the Ad­ver­tis­ing Stan­dards Coun­cil of In­dia (ASCI). In July 2013, ASCI’s Con­sumer Com­plaints Coun­cil (CCC) up­held com­plaints against 177 ads, of a to­tal of 201 com­plained against. Most of the mis­lead­ing ads were from the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor and the prom­ise of 100 per cent job place­ments was one of the recurring un­sub­stan­ti­ated claims, ASCI de­clared. This was fol­lowed by health and per­sonal care, where most of the com­plaints up­held were against ads found to be mis­lead­ing, or mak­ing false or un­sub­stan­ti­ated claims.

Some ex­am­ples: The CCC con­cluded that the claims men­tioned in L’Oreal In­dia's ad­ver­tise­ments for its prod­ucts Garnier Pure Ac­tive Neem Face Wash and Garnier Nat­u­rals Hair Col­ors were not sub­stan­ti­ated by proper re­search. Garnier Pure Ac­tive Neem Face Wash had claimed that it was ‘en­riched with real Neem’ and was 'the first ever face wash that re­moves pim­ples and marks'. Garnier Nat­u­rals Hair Col­ors claimed ‘Naya Garnier colour nat­u­ral ab aur bhi be­htar, Trust only the No. 1', with the dis­claimer say­ing ‘based on ur­ban re­tail data’.

Hindustan Unilever was pulled up for the un­sub­stan­ti­ated claims for its ads for Brooke Bond Red La­bel, which claimed it is a ‘Healthy tea that im­proves blood circulation’, and for Pond’s Age Mir­a­cle which claimed ‘Look up to 10 years younger’, with the dis­claimer in small print say­ing ‘with reg­u­lar use’.

Com­plaint against Audi In­dia was up­held for its advertisement claim­ing ‘Audi Q3 at a down pay­ment of Rs 600,000 and 84 EMIs of Rs 38,000 only for on­road price (with reg­is­tra­tion and in­sur­ance)’. The fine print be­low in­di­cated that ‘This is a bul­let scheme’, ‘Of­fer valid only on June 22 and June 23, 2013’.

The ad­ver­tis­ing watch­dog also up­held com­plaints against Tata Te­le­ser­vices, which claimed ‘Un­lim­ited 3G data for Rs 250’. The ad was mis­lead­ing as the dis­claimer men­tioned that ‘3G data would be up to 1 GB only’.

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