MUMBAI: Advertising sector watchdog ASCI upheld complaints against 229 misleading advertisements in March this year, including those of NIIT, Amul, Colgate, Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki.
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) examined complaints against 344 advertisements, of which 74 advertisers ensured prompt corrective action, a statement said.
The consumer complaints council (CCC) of the ASCI upheld complaints against 229 ads out of 270 evaluated by them.
Of the 229 misleading ads, a maximum of 123 belonged to the healthcare sector, followed by the education sector (83), food and beverages sector (7) and personal care (2).
While 14 ads were from the other category. Over 100 ads from the healthcare sector seen in potential violation of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (DMR) Regulations.
Of the total 187 ads under the ASCI's suo-motu surveillance, 70 were informally resolved wherein the advertisers promptly confirmed that the ads were being withdrawn immediately.
While complaints against the remaining 117 ads were upheld, of which 79 belonged to the education sector, 30 to the healthcare sector, 4 to the food and beverages sector and 4 to the others category.
The ASCI upheld the NIIT's advertisement claim of '5,000 assured jobs' as it was misleading by exaggeration, ambiguity and implication and since the students were given a provisional offer, an assured job could not be promised to the students.
It also noted that the claim, '50,000 students placed' was not substantiated with authentic supporting data such as detailed list of students who have been placed through their institute in the banking sector, contact details of students for verification, enrolment forms and appointment letters received by the students, nor any independent audit or verification certificate.
The regulator pulled up Amul's Gujarati ad of 'only Amul ghee means a promise of purity' and 'only Amul Ghee is 100 per cent pure, is a promise of 36 lakhs farmers', as misleading by implication and stating that only Amul is 100 per cent pure and implying that other ghee brands are not, were not substantiated with comparative data of the advertiser's product and other ghee products.
It found Colgate's TV and YouTube advertisements claim misleading and found the visual representation of numerical equivalence of calcium in both milk and the toothpaste and the comparison of the action of it with that of milk was considered to be incorrect.
The ASCI also pulled up the advertiser contravening the ASCI guidelines for disclaimers in advertising and said the claim was considered to be misleading by omission and implication as it distorts facts, exploits consumers' lack of knowledge and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment.
It upheld complaints against Tata Motors advertisement claim, 'Tata Nexon India's safest car.
Going swift is not safe for your family' as it was not factual and was not substantiated, and there is a likelihood of the consumer being misled as a result of the comparison.
"The reference made to 'Swift' in the caption, 'Going swift is not safe for your family', when seen in conjunction with the picture of Maruti Swift car, unfairly denigrated another vehicle in the four-wheeler category directly. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and implication," it noted.
Similarly, it pulled up Maruti Suzuki's ad 'enjoy the month of March with exciting offers from Maruti Suzuki', and 'bigger savings' showing images of various models of Maruti Suzuki with their prices, were not substantiated with any supporting verifiable data.
It also observed that the disclaimer stating that the offer was on select car models was not substantiated with a detailed list of the models on which discount was available and evidence of customers who had availed the said offer was not provided and found that the claim offer was misleading by exaggeration and also contravened ASCI guidelines for disclaimers in advertising.
The ASCI also found Vodafone's Supernet 4G ad claim, 'adding a tower every hour in crowded places' as misleading by exaggeration as it was not substantiated with any verifiable data of the hourly roll-out of the towers/sites in crowded places, or through independent third-party validation.