Complaints against 171 advertisements in January upheld: ASCI

Mumbai: The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) on Friday said its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) has upheld complaints against 171 advertisements out of 247 in January 2018 for mainly “gross exaggeration of product efficacy” and violation of acts and rules.

“In January 2018, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council upheld complaints against 171 advertisements out of the total of 247 advertisements that were evaluated by it,” a statement said.

A total of 148 advertisements were picked up by its suo moto surveillance and objections against 130 advertisements were upheld, the council said.

Of the 99 advertisements complained against by the general public or by industry members, complaints against 41 advertisements were upheld by the CCC, it said.

Amongst the 171 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 118 belonged to healthcare, 16 to the education category, 10 to the food & beverages category, five to personal care and 22 were from the aothers’ category.

“The council associates with government bodies to ensure an effective self-regulation process. We have completed a year of our association with the Ministry of AYUSH which is among top three sectors where we find a high incidence of misleading advertisements,” said ASCI Secretary General Shweta Purandare.

The advertisements in the AYUSH sector claiming treatment of certain diseases in violation of the Drugs and Magic Remedies Regulations have been “a cause of concern”, she said.

With support from the Ministry, the council hopes to change this scenario so that advertising is legal and ethical,” Purandare said.

Gross exaggeration of product efficacy was the number one reason for upholding complaints, followed by violation of the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act and the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, the advertisements watchdog said.

The other reasons were failure to provide substantial facts and figures to support claims and delivering advertisements which were misleading by ambiguity and or by implication, it said.

Among the various complaints, the CCC observed that a prominent FMCG drug company was providing inadequate and misleading information about its products. Similarly, a popular food brand was found to give incomplete and misleading comparison of its milkshake product.

Furthermore, an advertiser claimed to cure various diseases like heart block, cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, eye sight, Alzheimer’s, kidney function, thyroid, with their product featuring an FSSAI logo, implying that the claims are approved by FSSAI. These claims, too, were found to be misleading by exaggeration, it added.