Advertising sector watchdog ASCI upholds complaints against 229 misleading advertisements for violating guidelines

  • ASCI has also pulled up advertisement by a consumer durable brand endorsed by Bollywood couple Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh for violating its guidelines for celebrity endorsements

  • Over 200 advertisements belonged to the education sector with advertisers making unsubstantiated claims such as being 'No. 1', holding awards or providing and 100 percent placement and misleading students and parents, said ASCI in a statement

  • The body noted that few educational institutes were observed to downplay their status of being a 'deemed to be university' and presenting it in a misleading manner by overly emphasizing the word 'university'

Mumbai: Advertising sector watchdog ASCI upheld complaints against 299 misleading advertisements, including those of Zee Group's Zee Educare, Chate Group, Future World School, GD Goenka and SVKMs Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies among others.

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), the advertising industry's self-regulatory body, has also pulled up advertisement by a consumer durable brand endorsed by Bollywood couple Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh for violating its guidelines for celebrity endorsements.

The body's Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) has upheld complaints against 299 advertisements from a total of 338 advertisements evaluated by them during July this year. Of these 299, the largest number of advertisements belonged to the education sector, 59 belonged to the healthcare sector, nine to personal care, four to the food and beverages sector and 26 were from the 'others' category.

"Over 200 advertisements belonged to the education sector with advertisers making unsubstantiated claims such as being 'No. 1', holding awards or providing and 100 percent placement and misleading students and parents," it said in a statement.

The body noted that few educational institutes were observed to downplay their status of being a 'deemed to be university' and presenting it in a misleading manner by overly emphasizing the word 'university'.

 Advertising sector watchdog ASCI upholds complaints against 229 misleading advertisements for violating guidelines

Representative image. Reuters

"We have seen an increasing trend by advertisers to use reference of 'awards and rankings' to make superiority or leadership claims in their advertisements. These claims may mislead the consumer by communicating that the advertised institute, product or service is recognised, esteemed or evaluated by experts or a large body of experts, whereas this may not be the case," ASCI chairman Rohit Gupta said.

He further said that there are also dubious cases where such awards are self-sponsored.

"Effective 1 November this year, ASCI is rolling out 'Guidelines for Usage of Awards/Rankings in Advertisements'. This would ensure that the awards and rankings claimed are authentic and credible," Gupta added.

In the food and beverages category, a popular brand ran a digital campaign that tried to misrepresent a scientific study by distorting the information to mislead gullible consumers.

Another complaint was against a prominent airline offering cheap fares as part of an offer; however, all the important details were either missing or buried in the fine print, ASCI pointed out.

The healthcare sector also saw a large number of advertisements pertaining to hospitals and clinics claiming the best services, winning various awards or being able to cure various conditions ranging from infertility to piles, diabetes, HIV and cancer.

According to the report, a renowned hospital claimed to be the pioneer in overcoming Parkinsons without providing any substantiation.

Updated Date: Oct 23, 2019 09:14:01 IST