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ASCI upholds misleading advertisements – Jan 2018

About The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI)

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), established in 1985, is committed to the cause of self- regulation in advertising ensuring the protection of the interest of consumers. ASCI seeks to ensure that advertisements conform to its Code for Self-Regulation, which requires advertisements to be legal, decent, honest and truthful and not hazardous or harmful while observing fairness in competition. ASCI looks into complaints across ALL MEDIA such as Print, TV, Radio, hoardings, SMS, Emailers, Internet / web-site, product packaging, brochures, promotional material and point of sale material etc. ASCI’s role has been acclaimed by various Government bodies including The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Ministry of AYUSH as well as the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The association with these Government bodies is to co-regulate and curb misleading and objectionable advertisements in the respective sectors. In January 2017, the Supreme Court of India in its judgement has also affirmed and recognized the self-regulatory mechanism as an effective pre-emptive step to statutory provisions in the sphere of advertising content regulation for TV and Radio in India. ASCI is a part of the Executive Committee of International Council on Ad Self-Regulation (ICAS). Among several awards bestowed by the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA), ASCI bagged two Gold Global Best Practice Awards for the Mobile App “ASCIonline” (2016) and for reducing the time taken to process complaints (2013).


1. Kamal Kant and Company Llp (Rajshree Pan Masala):

The advertisement’s claim, “India ka favourite pan masala” implies that this product is preferred over other Pan Masala products or it is the most preferred brand in the Pan Masala category for which the advertiser gave only assertions and did not provide any valid substantiation. This claim was not substantiated with verifiable comparative data / market survey data of the advertiser’s product and other competitor products among representative country wide population or through a third party validation, and is misleading by exaggeration.

2. Puro Wellness Pvt Ltd (Puro Healthy Salt):

The advertisement’s claim, “Yeh safed kapde bleach kiye hue haii ….Aur yeh apka khane ka safed namak yeh bhi bleach kiya hua hai… chemical factory mein.. tabhi toh safed hai” is likely to mislead consumers by causing fear in their minds by showing comparison of chemical bleach used for clothes implying that other salts are unfit for human consumption, are of inferior quality, and are tampered with, by using chemicals. The reference to “bleach” in the TVC is misleading by ambiguity and implication that refined salt may be harmful due to bleaching it undergoes.

3. Puro Wellness Pvt Ltd (Puro Healthy Salt):

The advertisement’s claim, “Yeh paint chemical factory mein banta hai, aur yeh aapka safed namak, yeh bhi chemical factory mein banta hai, bleach kiya jaata hai” is unfairly denigrating other salt brands and is likely to mislead consumers by causing fear in their minds implying that other salts are unfit for human consumption, are of inferior quality, and are tampered with, by using chemicals. The subject matter of comparison confers an artificial advantage upon the advertiser or so as to suggest that better bargain is offered than is truly the case. The comparison shown in the advertisement is not factual and the consumer is likely to be misled as a result of comparison whether about the product advertised or that with which it is compared.

4. Puro Wellness Pvt Ltd (Puro Healthy Salt):

The advertisement’s claim, “Chemical factory mein banta hai, bleach hota hai,” is misleading by ambiguity and implication that the refined salt may be harmful due to processing it undergoes. Also the disclaimers in the advertisement were not legible and not in the same language as the voice over of the TVC (Hindi).

Press Release

5. Rasna International Pvt Ltd (Rasna Native Haat Honey):

The advertisement’s claim, “From the forests of Sunderbans to your Home”, was inadequately substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration.

6. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd (Horlicks):

The advertisement’s claim, “In a study, 9 out of 10 children’s diet was at risk of being deficient in essential nutrients”, was not substantiated and is misleading by implication and exaggeration.

7. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd (Horlicks Growth Plus):

The advertisement’s claim, “Naturally enhances growth,” implies natural growth without any artificial inputs. The use of the word “naturally” for an artificially composed drink supplemented in overall food intake is likely to mislead the consumers by ambiguity.

8. Cipla Health Ltd (Choco-bite):

The advertisement’s claim, “Upto 100% immunity nutrients” is misleading by ambiguity, implication and omission to mention that it could be helpful only as a supplement to normal diet.

9. INVENTZ Lifesciences Pvt Ltd (Headz Up tablets):

The advertisement’s claim, “avoid further hair fall and greying,” was not substantiated and was misleading by gross exaggeration.

Suo motu surveillance by ASCI


1. Ruchi Soya Industries (Sunrich Sunflower Oil):

The advertisement’s claims, “Absorbs 15% less oil”, and “Helps in reducing family intake of nine litres Oil” were inadequately substantiated. It was concluded that these claims are misleading by exaggeration.

Misleading advts. – ASCI upholds 3 complaints in F & B category


1. Kamla Kant & Company LLP Pan (Rajshree Masala):

Image result for rajshree pan masala image

The TV promos displaying advertisement of Rajshree Pan Masala which stated “Rajshree Pan Masala – India ka favourite pan masala” and “Rajshree Pan Masala, achha khaiye nischinth rahiye”, were misleading by omission of the statutory warning, by ambiguity and implication regarding its ingredients, and also encouraged negligence by not highlighting the product’s hazardous effect on health.

2. Singhal Brothers (Saadar Supari):

The advertisement’s claim, “Easy solution to quit gutkha”, was not substantiated with product efficacy data and is misleading by gross exaggeration.

3. Sheelpe Enterprise (Aava Mineral Water):

Image result for aava mineral water

The advertisement’s claim, “India’s Highest Selling Natural Mineral Water” was inadequately substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration.

Misleading advertisements in F&B sector handled by ASCI


1.Kellogg’s India Pvt Ltd (Kellogg’s Oats):

The advertisement’s claim, New Kellogg’s Oats”, – While the Advertiser asserted that they launched two new flavours, no evidence to support the same was submitted by the advertiser. The claim of “New” was not substantiated and was misleading.

2.Kellogg’s India Pvt Ltd (Kellogg’s Special K):

Image result for kellogs k special protein fiber

Representational photo

While the advertiser declares the protein and fibre content per serve size on the product package to enable consumer make an informed decision, such serve specific reference is missing from the TV advertisement. The claim “High Protein”, “High Fibre” does not qualify per serve basis – more so when only one serve of the product is likely to be consumed by a consumer within a day as the product is a “breakfast option”. The claim, “It is high in protein and fibre”, is false as it is not applicable for the serving size of the product and in the context of a product positioned for weight management, it is misleading by ambiguity. The stand-alone claim of “Foods high in protein and fibre make you feel full and keep hunger pangs away” is not objectionable. But when seen in conjunction with “High Protein” “High fibre”, the claim based on 100 gm of product is misleading by implication. While “eating breakfast regularly” as a generic advice for weight management was considered acceptable, the CCC did not consider the claim statement implying “regular breakfast” with the advertised product for weight management to be adequately substantiated. The claim, “To manage weight eat a breakfast like Kellogg’s Special K”, was considered to be misleading by ambiguity and implication. The advertiser provided details of the e:mail correspondence regarding the endorsement statements as agreed by the celebrity (Deepika Padukone) i.e. “Mere jaise, weight manage karne ke liye, eat breakfast every day”, “Stay healthy and eat breakfast every day”. It was noted that the celebrity has not used the product name in her approved statements and that the advertiser is required to be consistent with the celebrity endorsed statements in the advertisement. The disclaimers were not in accordance with the ASCI guidelines.

3.Abbott Healthcare Pvt Ltd:

Image result for pediasure

Representational photo

The advertisement’s claim, “Har roz Pediasure dene se bacchon ko milte hai 37 nutrients jo immunity badhane mein madad karein our de sure growth in 90 days” was considered to be misleading by ambiguity and implication. The disclaimers in the TVC were not legible and the text was white on white. Furthermore “sure growth” term was seen as a guarantee of growth which is incorrect since not every child in the study demonstrated significant growth. (Since the sub-group of Taiwanese children did not demonstrate statistically significant growth). The data presented was only an abstract that referred only to weight for age z score (and not height) and was not considered to be adequate to substantiate the claim. The claim of “Sure growth in 90 days” and its visual depiction, notwithstanding the disclaimer “creative depiction of growth” as referred in the storyboard, was considered to be misleading.

4.Modi Naturals Ltd:

Image result for oleev active

Representational photo

The advertisement’s claim, “Oleev Active” helps in reducing serum cholesterol, preventing lifestyle diseases, and has anti-ageing properties etc.” was not substantiated for the Oryzanol content in the product or the specific oil blend and was misleading by ambiguity and implication. While the TVC is in Hindi, the disclaimers in the TVC are in English. These pack claims / advertisement contravened Chapters I.1 and 1.4 of the ASCI Code as well as Guidelines on Disclaimers.
5.Modi Naturals Ltd: The packaging and advertisement highlights brand name “Oleev Health”. The product sold by the advertiser is the blended edible vegetable oil which is a mixture of physically refined rice bran oil and refined rapeseed oil and does not contain any Olive oil. Oleev and olive have such phonetic similarity that ordinary consumers are likely to be misled into believing that this particular product of the advertiser has olive oil. The product name in packaging / advertisement was considered to be misleading. The term “Cardizyme” is not objectionable, but its presentation in conjunction with a heart / heart beat symbol, in absence of evidence of the effective Oryzanol level for heart related benefits, was considered to be misleading by implication. The claim relating with the benefits as Oryzanol properties, the claim was not substantiated for the product constituents / oryzanol content in the product and was misleading by ambiguity and implication.

6.Modi Naturals Limited:

The word “Oleev” in the advertiser’s product name “Oleev Smart” is likely to cause a belief in the consumers at large, in a broad manner that it may contain olive oil especially given that the mother-brand that is advertised in mass media has olive oil. Therefore the product name in packaging / advertisement was considered to be misleading. On second claim, while the advertiser is portraying the benefit of an oil blend versus single oil, in absence of any comparative data or qualifier, the word “Smarter” in the claim “Smarter choice for a healthy lifestyle” is misleading by ambiguity and omission of the comparison being referred to. The advertiser’s claims, “Super enriched formula of Vitamin A, D, E & K, Oryzanol and Omega fatty acids. Anti-oxidant properties of Vitamin A and E keep tissues in healthy state and prevents cellular damage, while Vitamin D helps in bone and muscle strength, Vitamin K aids in healing process. Oryzanol improves blood circulation and lowers overall bad cholesterol levels. Also Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9 fatty acids along with other good lipids support and promote heart health” were not substantiated for the oil constitutes / oryzanol content in the product and were misleading by ambiguity and implication. The presentation of the logo unit for “Vitafit+” when seen in conjunction with declaration of Vitamin A, D, E and K, was objectionable, in absence of evidence of the RDA level for these vitamins, and the term was considered to be misleading.

7. Kaleesuwari Refinery Private Limited (Goldwinner):

Image result for goldwinner

Representational photo

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a number of important roles in the body and fortification of vegetable oils with Vitamin D2 or D3 has been recommended by various agencies to combat its deficiency in general population. While the benefits of Vitamin D and A via fortification of oils are acknowledged in general, the advertiser is attributing these benefits directly to food items fried in the advertised product such as Vada (“vada in my house gives me high energy, strong bones… Plus my bp, sugar, everything is under control), Poori (“I work with full energy all day, I have not taken a single sick leave”) etc. These claims, in absence of any qualifiers related to importance of lifestyle, exercise or other aspects having an impact on health, were considered to be grossly misleading since no single food item can help control any disease or disorder such as diabetes or blood pressure.

Govt.cracks down on misbranding – ‘Nalla Ennai’ not ‘ Nallennai’

FIR filed against Patanjali products for wrong claims in Marie Biscuit

Yoga Guru Baba Ram Dev and his close aide CEO of Patanjali Acharya Balkrishna have approached Rajasthan High Court to quash an FIR lodged against them in a case where one Advocate Sunil Singh of Ajmer has alleged that Baba Ramdev has wrongly claimed in advertisements that Patanjali’s product Marie Biscuit is completely free from Maida and contain 100% atta. Singh has produced a lab report before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Jaipur in support of his claim after which police had filed an FIR at on the directions of CMM under Section 420 and 120B of IPC  on January 11, this year.

Baba Ram Dev and Acharya Bal Kishan through his counsel Advocate Ajit Bhandari have filed a petition before High Court Judge Justice Deepak Maheshwari claiming that the complaint is baseless and FIR may be quashed. Justice Maheshwari has sought replies from both the complainant and the state government as to why the FIR shouldn’t be quashed. The court will next hear the case on March 20, 2018.

The Patanjali, on the other hand had rejected all the allegations. Baba Ram Dev’s counsel Advocate Ajit Bhandari has challenged the FIR saying that the accusations are baseless. For the manufacturing of biscuits, apart from atta, other ingredients are also used. But in the complaint, it is not quoted how much is the quantity of Maida was found in the biscuit sample. He also argued that if at all any irregularity is there its is not of a criminal nature.  “The matter is related to food safety and should be reported under Food Safety Regulations. There is no basis of lodging FIR,” he said.