The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), the advertising industry’s self-regulatory body, has pulled up four advertisements that have violated its guidelines for celebrity endorsements, including ones featuring cricket star Virat Kohli and actor Alia Bhatt.
According to a statement made by the body this week, its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) has upheld complaints against 232 advertisements from a total of 277 advertisements evaluated by them during October and November 2018. Of these 232, the largest number of advertisements which fell afoul of the CCC belonged to the education sector at 95.
As for the others, 53 were from the healthcare sector, 36 in the food & beverages sector, 23 in personal care, and 20 from the ‘others’ category. Five advertisements also violated the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) guidelines.
“Amongst various advertisements that were examined, the CCC observed that, a renowned cricketer endorsing a bike brand shown driving rashly and violating traffic rules, manifesting a disregard for safety. In addition to this, a famous celebrity was found to endorse a shampoo claiming to keep hair non-stop fresh for up to 72 hours.
In another advertisement a celebrity was endorsing a well-known brand of glasses promising that the product blocks harmful blue rays from digital media unlike other glasses,” the ASCI statement said. The first instance is of a video commercial for Hero MotoCorp featuring Kohli where the cricketer is “is seen driving rashly in normal traffic conditions”. According to ASCI, it portrays “violation of traffic rules, shows dangerous practices and manifests a disregard for safety”.
Other violations of celebrity norms were found in two separate L’Oreal India advertisements, one featuring Bhat, and another featuring actor Vivek Oberoi from Buy Happy Marketing. These three were found to be “misleading”, while in all four, the advertisers “did not provide any evidence to show that the celebrities did due diligence prior to lending their name for the endorsements, to ensure that all description, claims and comparisons made in the advertisement are capable of substantiation,” ASCI said.
D Shivkumar, chairman, ASCI also said that the collaboration between ASCI and FSSAI via an MOU has been effective in violations in the food and beverages sector. “This co-regulation model has been quite effective in ensuring compliance..,” he said.