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Crackdown on misleading ads featuring celebrities

| | New Delhi
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Crackdown on misleading ads featuring celebrities

Saturday, 14 September 2019 | Rajesh Kumar | New Delhi

Crackdown on misleading ads featuring celebrities

Claims of many ads found unsubstantiated; ASCI orders removal of such ads from all media platforms

Coming down heavily on misleading advertisements, including those featuring several celebrities, the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) has issued directions for their removal from all media platforms — print, digital, electronic and social.

The misleading advertisements include Asian Paints endorsed by film actors

Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone; Fena Superwash Powder featuring Priety Zinta, cricketers KL Rahul and Ravichandran Ashwin; Eureka Forbes RO by Madhuri Dixit; CricPlay online game by cricketer-turned politician Gautam Gambhir and housing firms ads by actress Vidya Balan.

Asian Paints in its advertisement of the “anti-bacterial paint” featuring Bollywood celebrities Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone claims that its anti-bacterial technology kills bacteria that enter the house. The advertisement also claims that it is recommended by the Indian Medical Association (IMA). This was not adequately substantiated.

“The advertisement was misleading by implication that the IMA has endorsed the product, whereas IMA had permitted the use of their logo for the “Asian Paints Silver Ion Technology” and not for the product as a whole. The advertiser did not provide any evidence showing that the celebrities had done due diligence prior to the endorsement. The advertisement was misleading due to ambiguity regarding the nature of germ kill and omission with respect to the required contact time, the ASCI said in its order.

The ASCI also pulled up Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit Nene for claiming in the ad that Dr Aquaguard NRICH Reverse Osmosis (ROs) of Eureka Forbes instantly incorporate the benefits of copper in the purified water, equating it with water stored overnight in copper vessels.

“The advertiser’s claim as translated from Hindi ‘Aquaguard ki nayi Active Copper technology de paani ko tambe ki shakti, instantly’ (Aquaguard’s new Active Copper Technology instantly gives the power of copper to water). The advertiser did not intend to associate the claims with any health benefits. Hence it was concluded that the use of the claim “tambe ki shakti, instantly” is misleading.

In the Fena Superwash Powder advertisement featuring Preity Zinta, cricketers KL Rahul and Ravichandran Ashwin, claimed to be number 1 choice of millions of consumers, it was not substantiated with verifiable market survey data to prove that they preferred Fena over other brands in the detergent/bar category.

“The advertisement had a misleading claim of it being consumers’ choice for its product quality,” the ASCI said.

A claim endorsed by famous cricketer-turned-MP Gautam Gambhir for a gaming app being “India’s Favourite Fantasy Cricket Game” was also not substantiated.

This is not the first time that renowned celebrities

from Bollywood and cricket, were found endorsing misleading advertisements.

Former Indian cricket captain MS Dhoni was once the brand ambassador of the Amrapali group which is facing prosecution for duping thousands of homebuyers in NCR. His name features in the forensic auditors’ report submitted in the Supreme Court on the doings and “bogus expenses” incurred by Amrapali group.

The ASCI has investigated complaints against 334 advertisements, of which 106 advertisements were promptly withdrawn. The independent Consumer Complaints Council of ASCI upheld complaints against 190 advertisements, out of 228 advertisements evaluated by them. Of these 190 advertisements, 112 belonged to the education sector, 40 belonged to the healthcare sector, 10 to personal care, 7 to the food & beverages sector, 5 to the media/ broadcasting sector, 5 from consumer durables and 11 from the ‘others’ category.

“India’s No 1 Affordable Housing Company” featuring Vidya Balan was not substantiated with verifiable data of the advertiser’s housing company and other housing companies in India. The source for the claim was not mentioned in the TVC,” ASCI said.

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