India advertising watchdog finds 27 health and personal care ads 'misleading or unsubstantiated'
The ASCI, part of the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC), has announced that the 27 adverts, including examples from L’Oréal, Hindustan Unilever and P&G, were either misleading or false for not sufficiently substantiated by adequate research.
The ASCI is a self-regulatory organization for the advertising industry. Established in 1985, ASCI’s role has been acclaimed by various Government agencies, the council says, however its rulings currently only have limited legal backing - in the case of television advertising.
When it comes to TV commercials, legislation states that “no advertisement which violates the Code for Self-Regulation in Advertising, as adopted by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), Mumbai for public exhibition in India, from time to time, shall be carried in the cable service".
The personal care offenders
The 27 findings relate to companies across health and personal care, just four of which were focused expressly on the personal care market. These were for ads from Colgate-Palmolive, P&G, L’Oréal India, and Hindustan Unilever.
1. Colgate-Palmolive (India) Ltd. (Colgate Herbal)
"The ambiguous presentation of the trademark “Colgate Herbal” on packaging as two separate words and omission of the reference to trademark was misleading”, the ASCI states.
Trading on the marketing power of herbal has long been a key feature of the personal care market in India, and brands are ever on the look-out for ways to align themselves closely with the trend. In this case, the ASCI found that Colgate-Palmolive was not clear enough whether its herbal claim was part of its trademark.
3. Procter & Gamble Hygiene & Health Care Ltd. (Pantene Shampoo)
“The advertisement’s claim, Pantene is the "World's No. 1 Hair Care Brand", regardless of the disclaimer, is misleading by implication and ambiguity,” says the ASCI.
“It was not accepted that the qualifier in the advertisement stating "Hair Care Category sirf shampoo aur conditioner se sambandhit" is appropriate to validate the advertiser’s own categorisation of Hair care category which comprises of Shampoo, Conditioner and Hair Oils.”
4. L’Oreal India Limited (New Garnier White Complete Double Action Facewash)
“The advertisement on the pack claims, 'instant whitening' and 'Gives 1 tone fairer looking skin in one wash' were not substantiated,” the ASCI has found.
“The TV commercial claim, 'You think only cream can give you visible fairness? Think again …. This fights dark spots and gives instant whitening', was misleading by implication.”
5. Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (Rexona Roll On)
“The advertisement of Rexona Roll On claim, “Ten times (10X) Protection”, was misleading by omission of qualifiers and reference to the comparison to talcum powder,” the ASCI concluded.
The full list of the ASCI’s decisions for this month can be found here.