Advertising Standards Council of India Asks RCom to Withdraw Ads

Mumbai, October 5th, 2010: Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) released its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) Decision report for the month of May and June. According to the report, some of the prominent brands went overboard in their claims and hence were asked to withdraw or modify their advertisements duly.

For the month of June companies like Reliance Communications Ltd and Volkswagen Group Sales India Pvt Ltd with two ads each were asked to withdraw their ads.  Apart from that, the Parle Agro Pvt Ltd (LMN Juice) and Scorpio Enterprise (Natraj Atta Maker) advertisements were questioned. And for the month of May the advertisement of Johnson & Johnson Ltd (Stayfree Secure Ultra Thin Napkins) was questioned for its claim.

Advertisements with claims that might not be exclusive just to one particular product can mislead the consumers and that’s exactly what happened with the J&J Stayfree Secure Ultra Thin Napkins TVC. The TVC claimed that due to a super absorbent polymer the heavy flow is converted into gel form and is locked. But this benefit is also provided by other sanitary napkins without any super absorbent polymer.  The TVC also made a comparison with another product – Whisper Choice (which has similar orange packaging). According to the CCC decision the TVC did not denigrate the competitor’s product however the communication misled hence the advertiser was asked to modify the commercial appropriately.

Natraj Atta maker made three claims, one of which was that it saves grains up to 25% which has not been substantiated. Hence post CCC decision, the advertisers promised withdrawal of misleading claims.

The TVC of LMN Juice seems to have hinted at racism by its TVC portraying the African nation in a bad light and it has been withdrawn. The basis was that it had undernourished stereotypes as Africans which could be viewed as racist.

As for Reliance Communications Ltd, the unsubstantiated claims made regarding both Net Calls and Reliance CDMA Plan has resulted in withdrawal of both the ads.  They claimed that net calls are unlimited and the CDMA plan gives unlimited talk time. But both these plans are subject to certain limits which were not mentioned in the ads. Under Chapter I.1 these claims were not substantiated and thereby discontinued.

In the auto sector it was The New Volkswagen Polo Car ad campaign under Chapter III.4 that has been discontinued under the violation of the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001. This has been done with respect to the advertisements with the rhino as well as the buffaloes as both these ads portray violence against animals.

Apart from that the complaints made against Mankind Pharma Ltd (Don’t Worry Sanitary Pads), Kalyan Jewellers, State Bank of India(The Banker to Every Indian), Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Co Ltd (Bajaj Allianz Shield Plus)T. I. M. E.(IIT-JEE 2011 / 2012), Henkel  India  Ltd (Pril Power Gel), Career Launcher (I) Ltd(CAT’09, GMAT’09, CET’09 Results), Coca Cola India P. Ltd(Thums Up – Thunder Wheels Offer), Kerala  Co-operative  Milk  Marketing Federation Ltd(Milma  Ice Cream), Max Bupa Health Insurance Company Ltd, GlaxosmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd(Horlicks), Travel Guru(Travelguru.com), Paras Pharmaceuticals Ltd(Zatak deodorant) and Noesis Education And Management Services(Free CAT – 10 Workshop) were not substantiated.