From Narendra Modi's 'Abki Baar Modi Sarkar', 'Janta Maaf Nahi Karegi' to Congress', 'Har Haath Shakti', political advertisements have flooded the television space due to Lok Sabha elections. Consumers have complained on numerous occasions about misleading advertisements by corporates either on grounds of propogating wrong information, sexually explicit content to exaggerated claims not amounting to actual results.
Below is a list of controversial advertisements that were charged down by Consumer Coordination Committee on various grounds.
#01 Emami: The brand made claims that its product ' Boro Plus Anti-Pollution Daily Face Wash' was enriched with break through nature shield technology. It also stated three indicators of a healthy skin as fair, healthy, glowing Skin and that the product would manage to deliver these in three days.
Why was the complaint filed?
*Anti Pollution face wash is a term which needs to be explained. A face wash can cleanse the skin of dirt, dust and oil but how can it be termed ‘Anti-Pollution’?
*Getting fair, healthy and glowing skin in just 3 days needs substantiation. A face wash being able to deeply penetrate skin and transform outward appearance is a tall claim to be achieved
The final decision:
*The CCC considered the Advertiser’s request for Review along with the supporting data, and concluded that - the term, “BoroPlus Anti-Pollution Daily Face Wash” was acceptable as a product name.
*In the context of a facewash product, the headline of 'Pollution ka Solution', was substantiated. This complaint was not upheld on review.
*The advertiser had agreed to modify the term 'with breakthrough Nature Shield Technology'. Claim, 'Fair, Healthy, Glowing Skin in just 3 days', was inadequately substantiated, and no further data was given to support claim of 'deep penetration' or 'transformation from inside’.
Emami seems to be serious offender in this list. Other brands under its product list have advertisements that were struck down by CCC.
The product in this case is Zandu Kesari Jeevan
*According to the advertisement, Milkha Singh was portrayed as a symbol of youthfulness and vigour even at 84 and that he was a perfect symbol for Zandu Kesari Jeevan. The product promotes good health, youthful vigour and energy and Singh identifies himself as Milkha Singh and states that he is 84-years-old in the ad.
*Whereas his biography on the internet, states that he was born in 1935. If this is true, he is only 78 years. Therefore this ad appears to be misleading.
*According to CCC, the claims made by the brand needed substantiation.
*The CCC viewed the TVC, the advertiser’s response and concluded that the claim was affirmed by the brand ambassador. The complaint was not upheld.
Emami again tops the list in terms of policy violations with its product Zandu Kesari Jeevan. The TVC shows the brand ambassador Pandit Birju Maharaj dancing. The foot note of the advertisement says Padam Vibhushan Pandit Birju Maharaj. This tantamounts to commercial exploitation of a Civil Award and is ethically wrong.
It was noted that these violations were against the constitution of India. The CCC viewed the TVC and concluded that the reference to the Award prefix “Padma Vibhushan” in the ad was in Breach of the law as it violated the provisions of the Constitution of India. The advertisement contravened Chapter III.4 of the Code. The complaint was upheld. The CCC noted the Advertiser’s willingness to modify the TVC appropriately.
#02 Havells Geyser
In the advertisement, a father-son duo is seen fighting over a tussle of the 'switched off geyser'. While the son has turned off the geyser dutifully after showering, the father wants the opposite.
*The advert claims: Havells Geyser keeps hot water hot for 24 hours in only half a unit of electricity.
*The complainant maintains that this claim holds true only under the following conditions:
*No hot water is drawn from the geyser during this Period, the hot water has been already fully heated to the set temperature at the initial point.
*When geysers are meant for drawing hot water, making a claim that the geyser keeps hot water hot for 24 hours in only 1/2 unit electricity which does not hold true in course of normal use is only meant to mislead the customer. The ad also states since the electricity consumption of the heater is so low, there is no need to switch it off even if it is not in use. This appears to be against the national policy of energy conservation.
Dettol claimed that for more than 75 years, healthcare experts have been recommending Dettol antiseptic liquid for protection against a wide range of germs including influenza A H1N1 (Swine), E.coli, V.Cholerae, Respiratory Syncytial Virus RSV), K.Pneumoniae (NDM- 1).
*Influenza A H1N1 ( swine) Virus have been discovered in April 2009 while K. Pneumoniae (NDM-1) have been discovered in year 2008, then how can any experts claim for protection against these viruses from last 75 years.
*External protection by washing hands etc. cannot be perfect in any case, as these organisms are communicated / transferred through breathing, inhalation, drinking, eating contaminated food or drinks.
*Level of protection is not specified whether complete or partial and needs any other supportive therapies (internal or external) for complete internal and external protection.
*The advertisement appears to be misleading.
In the absence of comments from the Advertiser, the CCC concluded that the claim, “An expert, used and recommended by experts for over 75 years”, was not substantiated. The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code. The complaint was upheld by the body.
#04 Dabur Shilajit Gold:
The advertisement promotes itself as a complete dosage of vigour and power. The female model in the ad is seen gushing and stating, "his vigour amazes me." The following visual implies that the product is meant to enhance sexual pleasure.
Consumer Coordination Council stated that the Claims needed substantiation.
The CCC viewed the print Ad and considered the supporting data provided by the Advertiser. The CCC concluded that the claims read in conjunction with the visual, implies that the product is meant to enhance sexual pleasure, which, was in Breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act. The advertisement contravened Chapter III.4 of the Code. The complaint was upheld.
#05 Eureka Forbes limited
Company claims: “Drink the Healthiest Water on the Earth”, “No Bacteria”, “No Virus”, “Natural Calcium”, “Natural Minerals, etc
The advertisement picture shows a happy mother holding her son on her back and the text says, "Protect your family from water borne disease". The picture also has a machine placed in the canvas. The other headline says "Drink the healthiest water on Earth. In the ad they claim lot many other things...such as No Bacteria, No Virus, Natural Calcium, Natural Minerals,...etc "
The CCC considered the supporting technical data provided by the Advertiser and concluded that – Claims, “No Bacteria”, “No Virus”, were substantiated.
This complaint was not withheld on review. The data provided by the Advertiser suggested that water is considered healthier if it contains some amount of minerals. However, there was no additional data which describes “healthiest water” besides being bacteria and virus free.
The level of minerals left behind do not form significant proportion of daily needs values. The claims, “Drink the healthiest water on the Earth”, “Natural Calcium” and “Natural minerals”, were not substantiated and were considered to be misleading.
#06 Johnson & Johnson Ltd
-According to CCC, claims such as 'gentle' needed further substantiation.
The body considered the clinical data provided by the Advertiser and concluded that the claim, “Mildness clinically Proven”, was substantiated. The complaint was not withheld.
#07 Cadbury India Ltd
What the ad states: The ad starts with a woman talking in a FM radio in a soft sensuous voice. She calls a man and describes the various amounts of compensation that would be given by an insurance policy that she is offering. It describes various levels of injury from a broken hand to death. When the man says he is not interested, the lady says, "But sir, this policy is being offered free of cost from XYZ Builders... The same builders against whom you are going to give evidence tomorrow...!" The ad ends with a voiceover that says this new chocolate is smooth.
Complaints were filed stating that the advertisement was objectionable and CC did not uphold it.
The CCC heard the radio spot, and concluded that the Ad was humorous and was not objectionable. The complaint was NOT UPHELD
#08 Parle Products
The TVC shows Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchanji throwing a stone to get mangoes from the tree. According to CCC, This may be replicated by children which is not only harmful to them but also to people around them.
The CCC viewed the TVC and concluded that the visual of Amitabh Bachchanji throwing a stone to get mangoes from the tree shows tresspassing and causing damage to property as a result of stone throwing.
It features a dangerous act which is likely to encourage minors to emulate such acts in a manner which could cause harm or injury. The advertisement contravened Chapters III.2 (b) of the Code and was upheld.
#09 Procter & Gamble Hygiene and Health Care Ltd
The advertisement stated that Wella Colour provided superior damage protection. The text read, “Wella, a leading international color company for over 100 years, has perfected both, its ammonia and no-ammonia color formulation to provide superior damage protection vs. the leading professional permanent no-ammonia color brand.”
What CCC said: Advertiser must produce comparative data from independent Third party sources against all professional hair colours in the world.
The Advertiser goes on to further denigrate the ingredient MEA at large which has been safely used around the world in non-ammonia hair colors, with a view to create fear in the minds of the gullible consumers.
*It has been stated “The chemical used to substitute ammonia in color can be even more damaging to your hair.” And “…….another similarly active ingredient, which even though it doesn’t smell, can be worse for your hair.”
CCC asked the Advertiser to provide substantiate data to support their exaggerated claims.
The CCC considered the supporting technical data provided by the advertiser. The test results submitted for tensile strength does not conclusively show superiority, and the original strength before first application is not indicated.
The ad and the advertorial contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code. The decision of complaint being Upheld stands on review.
*Unsubstantiated: not supported or proven by evidence
*CCC: Consumer Coordination Committee
Click here for the entire list: ASCI
Disclaimer: Some advertisements are not the exact ones as mentioned but representational ones.