Mail Today

Top stars and big brands in bad ads

- By Mail Today Bureau in New Delhi

AD­VER­TISE­MENTS en­dorsed by top-paid celebri­ties such as Vi­rat Kohli, Amitabh Bachchan and Alia Bhatt as well as those of lead­ing brands Hin­dus­tan Unilever, Glaxo Smithk­line, Tata Chem­i­cal, L’Oreal In­dia and Samsung are among the 191 in­dicted by Advertisin­g Stan­dards Coun­cil of In­dia (ASCI) in March as be­ing mis­lead­ing.

With 114 mis­lead­ing com­mer­cials, health­care topped the list of sec­tors against which com­plaints were up­held. As many as 35 mis­lead­ing ad­ver­tise­ments were from the food & bev­er­ages cat­e­gory, while education sec­tor had 24 and per­sonal care ac­counted for seven.

A com­mer­cial for ‘Too Yumm’ chips in which cricket star Vi­rat Kohli says that the prod­uct is “not fried, it’s baked” was found to be mis­lead­ing as the claim holds for only three vari­ants. How­ever, the com­mer­cial showed nine prod­uct vari­ants.

The ad­ver­tise­ment’s claim, “Eat Lot and Fikar Not” and “Eat any­time any­where, as much”, show­ing overindul­gence of the prod­uct in the TVC and with other cues such as “bing­ing”/“khaaye thoos thoos”, was mis­lead­ing by im­pli­ca­tion and ex­ag­ger­a­tion that the advertised prod­uct would not have any neg­a­tive ef­fect de­spite ex­ces­sive con­sump­tion, the watch­dog said.

ASCI up­held a com­plaint against Amitabh Bachcha­nen­dorsed Lux Venus vest, where the ac­tor por­trays a barber and says all su­per­stars wear Lux Venus vest. It found the ad­ver­tise­ment to mis­guide con­sumers by try­ing to get them to think that su­per­stars in the film in­dus­try wear the brand.

L’Oreal In­dia’s ad­ver­tise­ment for 'New Garnier Light Serum Com­plete Cream’ fea­tur­ing ac­tor Alia Bhatt was also pulled up for be­ing mis­lead­ing through ex­ag­ger­a­tion. In the com­mer­cial, Bhatt is seen promis­ing her two friends that their dark spots will van­ish one week’s time if they use the prod­uct. “Next in the ad­ver­tise­ment, we see Alia and her friends with fair skin at a pre­miere. The ad­ver­tise­ment’s claim, “With new Garnier Light Com­plete …. de three tones lighter skin sirf ek week mein” was not sub­stan­ti­ated,” said ASCI.

Tata Salt, Hor­licks Pro­tein Plus, HUL’s Pure Derm Anti Dan­druff Sham­poo, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Oppo F5 Mo­bile and Crocin 650 were among the prod­ucts whose ad­ver­tise­ments were found to be mis­lead­ing.

Ex­ag­ger­a­tion of prod­uct ef­fi­cacy was the num­ber one rea­son for up­hold­ing com­plaints, ac­cord­ing to the ASCI re­port. Other rea­sons in­cluded ex­ploit­ing con­sumers’ lack of knowl­edge, pro­vid­ing facts and fig­ures which were in­ad­e­quately sub­stan­ti­ated to sup­port claims and de­liv­er­ing ad­ver­tise­ments which were mis­lead­ing by am­bi­gu­ity or by im­pli­ca­tion.

This was fol­lowed by vi­o­la­tions of the Drugs and Magic Reme­dies Act (DMR Act) and the Drugs and Cos­met­ics (D&C)Rules and ad­ver­tise­ments which con­tra­vened var­i­ous ASCI guide­lines.

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