For the month of January 2017, Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) received a total of 191 complaints against leading brands for broadcasting misleading and deceptive advertisements.
The complaints were received by Customer Complaints Council (CCC) under ASCI.
Out of these 191 complaints, ASCI has upheld 143 complaints, and have declared them as misleading. These 143 misleading advertisements have been created by some of the biggest brands, which includes Apples, Airtel, Thums Up, MobiKwik and more.
Apple: Incorrectly Projecting iPhone 7 Plus As iPhone 7
In the case of Apple, they have created an advertisement stating ‘The amazing iPhone 7 is here’, but in the image of the ad, they have shown a variant of iPhone 7 Plus.
ASCI said, “In absence of any visual of iPhone 7 variant, it was concluded that the advertisement is likely to mislead the consumers about the product advertised and its corresponding features..”
Thums Up: Showing Dangerous Stunts
Coca-Cola created an advertisement for Thums Up, wherein they have showcased dangerous stunts, which can inspire youngsters to copy them. Although there was a disclaimer present, ASCI noted that the actions are deemed dangerous.
ASCI said, “It was concluded that though the overall advertisement is not objectionable, regardless of the disclaimer the specific visual… encourages dangerous practices, manifests a disregard for safety and encourages negligence,”
Coca-Cola has assured to modify the advertisement.
Standard Chartered Bank: Incorrect Interest Rate
In one of the advertisements, Standard Chartered Bank has informed: “up to 10 per cent extra cashback on all spends with your Standard Chartered credit card”, which ASCI found misleading, as the cash back is limited to Rs 10,000 only.
The bank issued a statement, wherein they said, “The cash back cap and all other relevant details were shared with customers over multiple communication channels. However, ASCI felt that we needed to make certain modifications, and we have taken their inputs on board.”
Airtel: Free Calls Local + STD Is Not Free
ASCI rapped Airtel for misleading the consumers, in their advertisements for Free Calls Local + STD. ASCI observed that end-users need to pay Rs 149 to avail this offer, which makes it as a charged service, not free.
Earlier, ASCI had asked Airtel to withdraw their fastest network ad as well, after Jio complained.
Opera: Data Is Saved While Browsing?
Opera claimed that their browser can save 90% of data consumed by users, which ASCI found ‘misleading by exaggeration’, as there was no proof of claim provided.
Opera has defended their claim, as they said, “..our claim of Opera Mini saving up to 90 percent data in our advertisement, is entirely true. We have proven our claims by internal and external tests from time to time over the years.”
MobiKwik: Most Secure e-wallet?
MobiKwik had claimed their wallet is India’s most secure digital wallet, a claim which was shown without any proof and evidence.
Similarly, advertisements by Nivea, Amul, Rin Antibac and others were also deemed inappropriate and misleading by ASCI.