90% Complaints of False Claims Against Ads in Aug-Sep Upheld 

ASCI also upheld such misleading claims made on social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Published
India
2 min read
This is an advertisement  for a ‘coronavirus-curing’ mattress which was strongly condemned.
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The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has criticised several advertisements released during August and September 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, for their misleading and false claims.

The ASCI looked into complaints against 317 advertisements, of these 64 were promptly withdrawn by advertisers on ASCI’s intervention, reported Medianews4u. The Independent Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI evaluated the remaining 253, of which complaints against 221 advertisements, including 101 belonging to the education sector, 77 to healthcare, eight to food and beverage, seven to personal care, three to finance and investments, were upheld.

Complaints against 32 advertisements were not upheld as they were found to not be in violation of the ASCI Code.

ASCI also upheld such misleading claims made on social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

False Claims on 100% Jobs Made by Educational Institutes

During the time of the pandemic, several educational institutes were known to make false claims such as stating top ranking, 100% job placements, and 100% passing rate, which is are strict violations of the code.

These institutes did not reportedly have data and facts to substantiate their claims.

An advertisement for a CAT Online coaching institute claimed one in three students got an IIM call. This claim is not backed by the proof, hence misleading the prospective customer. The advertiser had not provided a detailed list of students and evidence to support their enrollment and contact details of students for verification, or copy of auditor’s report certifying the claimed figure of students who received IIM calls. In the absence of this data, the complaint was upheld.

Health Firms Criticised for Tapping in on People’s Insecurities

Advertisers, especially from the health sector, were criticised for tapping in on people’s insecurities during the coronavirus pandemic situation.

Some brands had falsely claimed to cure or prevent COVID-19.

An advertisement by Muthoot India was released in support of their recent initiative ‘Restart India,’ with a view to provide free guidance to entrepreneurs and businesses across the country who are affected due to COVID-19 Pandemic. In the advertisement, the persons are shown wearing their masks on their chins, which was deemed as misleading. The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) concluded that the improper use of the mask shown in the advertisement refers to an unsafe practice without justifiable reason, manifests a disregard for safety and encourages negligence.

A clothing company had claimed that their product could kill 99% germs, and was anti-corona. These advertisers were told to modify such claims or withdraw their advertisements.

“The independent consumer complaints council (CCC), which comprises members of civil society as well as industry, jointly view such advertisements and adjudicate. The CCC goes deep into understanding the underlying complaint and the advertiser’s response and justification before an opinion is given. ASCI’s only goal is to promote responsible advertising which safeguards consumers,” told Manisha Kapoor, Secretary-General of ASCI, reported Medianews4u.

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