Top stars and big brands in bad ads
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.