Ads featuring celebrities Sachin, Saina, Parineeti found misleading

June 23, 2020

New Delhi: Several advertisements, including those endorsed by celebrities like Saina Nehwal,  Bollywood actress Praneeti Chopra and celebrity couple Sachin and Supriya Pilgaonkar  have been found to be misleading,  the Advertising Standards Council of India said on Tuesday, releasing the list of entities violating the code for self-regulation of content.

The claims of a television ad for Tirumalla oil as translated from Marathi, “I regularly eat savoury snacks of my liking” and “If you have Tirumalla oil in the house, then you don’t have to worry about fitness” endorsed by Sachin and Supriya Pilgaonkar were not substantiated. The advertisement undermines the importance of healthy lifestyle and is misleading regarding the nature of nutritive value of the advertised product, the ASCI said.

Similarly, the claim of Rasna Native Haat Honey advertisement in print that “No chemical”, “No preservatives” and “No added sugar” endorsed by Saina Nehwal were also not substantiated.

The advertiser did not submit any product specific details such as composition / pack artwork, nor evidence of absence of any chemicals, preservatives or any added sugar or any technical test report. Additionally, the advertiser did not provide any evidence to show that the celebrity had done due diligence prior to endorsement, to ensure that all description, claims and comparisons made in the advertisement are capable of substantiation. The advertisement contravened ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising, the ASCI said.

Actress Prineeti Chopra has also found to be endorsing a similar kind of ad of Bajaj Consumer Care Ltd (Bajaj Almond Drops Hair Oil). The television advertisement’s claim featuring Chopra, “Every Drop has the 3 Times Vitamin E Compared to Other Ordinary Oil” is misleading by ambiguity and implication. The CCC noted that the Vitamin E in the product was compared with unbranded oils (mustard and coconut). In the narrow technical sense, the analytical report submitted does show a 3x or 300% content of Vitamin E in the impugned product as compared to the unbranded comparator oils.

Asian Paints Ltd., Reliance Industries Ltd, and Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited were also among the
several entities whose ads were faulted by the ASCI.

ASCI exercised the “Suspension Pending Investigation” (SPI) option against an extremely offensive advertisement of an online video app. The contents of the advertisement were extremely obscene and vulgar. The advertiser issued an apology and internally banned all similar video content on their platform.

These ads were among 533 advertisements against which complaints were receieved and investigated by ASCI in March-April. As many as 115 of the advertisements were promptly withdrawn by the advertisers on receipt of communication from ASCI.

The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) evaluated remaining 418 advertisements, of which complaints against 377 advertisements were upheld. Of these 377 advertisements, 187 belonged to the healthcare sector, 132 belonged to the education sector, 15 to the food & beverages sector, nine belonged to real estate sector, five to the personal care and the immigration sector each and 24 were from the ‘others’ category.

The ASCI team also picked over 50 COVID cure advertisements in April, notifying the advertisers to withdraw them forthwith within a week.

The Council is tasked to ensure that advertisements conform to its Code for Self-Regulation, which requires advertisements to be legal, decent, honest and truthful and not hazardous or harmful while observing fairness in competition. ASCI looks into complaints across all m edia such as Print, TV, Radio, hoardings, SMS, Emailers, Internet / web-site, product packaging, brochures, promotional material and point of sale material etc. In January 2017, the Supreme Court of India in its judgement affirmed and recognized the self-regulatory mechanism as an effective pre-emptive step to statutory provisions in the sphere of advertising content regulation for TV and Radio in India.

–India News Stream