Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) Health-Related Decisions and Recommendations, February 2016

January 23, 2017

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) is a voluntary, self-regulatory organization for India’s advertising industry. The council and its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) evaluate complaints from consumers and industry which assert that advertisements are false, misleading, indecent, illegal, leading to unsafe practices, and/or or unfair to competition, and therefore violate the ASCI Code for Self-Regulation in Advertising. In February 2016, the complaints that were upheld against health-related claims included:

    • Ban Labs Ltd (Sesa Oil): The claim in the advertisement of “8X” referring to the 8 benefits of the product was not substantiated.
    • Cargill India Pvt. Ltd (Leonardo Olive Oil): The advertisement’s claim, “1/3 oil usage, Makes it light” is not acceptable since the sensory results presented were not statistically significant as compared to other cooking oils. Further, the advertisement’s claim, “Improves Metobolic Health,” “Increases Good Cholesterol,” “Maintains sugar levels,” “Controls weight and waist line” were not substantiated. Also the claim, “helps in improving digestion” was not substantiated and was considered to be misleading by ambiguity as adequate reports for substantiation were not presented by the advertiser.
    • Colorbar Cosmetics Pvt. Ltd. (Colorbar U.S.A. Hydra White Intense Whitening Hydrating Day Lotion): The advertisement’s claims relating to usage results, “70% felt an increase in skin brightness, freshness and radiance,” “75% felt their skin tone looked more clear,” “80% agreed their skin remained hydrated all day long,” “80% loved the light-weight texture,” were not substantiated and were likely to mislead consumers. Further, the advertisement’s claim, “Our PATENTED Illumeskin Whitening Complex* (*Patent pending)” on product packaging was not substantiated and was misleading by implication as no proof/data was provided to substantiate that the advertiser’s patent has been applied and is pending.
    • Emami Limited (Fair & Handsome): The advertisement’s claim, “Long lasting fairness” was not substantiated.
    • Future Value Products Pvt. Ltd. (Dr. Back Orthopedic Mattress): The advertisement’s claim, “Since 1982, Pyare Lal Group is the only manufacturer in the world, who manufactures all types of mattresses under one roof,” was not substantiated and was misleading by gross exaggeration.
    • HealthCare Global Enterprises Limited (HCG Hospital-CyberKnife): The advertisement’s claim, “In Cyberknife Surgery . . . . And, By The End Of It. No Cancer” were not substantiated. Also, specific to the claim implying cure for cancer, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violateds The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
    • Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (Dove Hair Fall Rescue Shampoo with Nutrilock Actives): The advertisement of Dove Hair Fall Rescue Shampoo with Nutrilock Actives is misleading by ambiguity because consumers will believe that Dove will also reduce natural hair fall; whereas the context of product benefit is with reference to hair fall due to breakage, as specified in the disclaimer. Further, the advertisement’s claim, “Yeh damage balon ko jadon se upar poshan de aur unhe banaye siron se majboot” (“Nourishes Damaged Hair From Roots Up”), as used in the print advertisement was considered to be misleading by ambiguity and implication that the product is effective of for physiological hair loss.
    • Marico Ltd (Livon Hairgain Tonic): The advertisement’s claim, “It controls Hairfall in 90 days,” was not substantiated adequately as the product was at most helpful in moderately improving the condition.
    • Mission Health (Non-surgical spine care technologies): The advertisement’s claims, “Neck pain, back pain, slipped disc, sciatica?,” “No medicine, no injections, no surgery,” “India’s 1st super speciality spine clinic in Ahmedabad,” “Worlds most advanced non-surgical spine care technologies” and “12,000+ patients treated successfully” were not substantiated.
    • Nutricia International Pvt. Ltd. (Protinex Health Drink): The presentation of the advertisement was likely to mislead by implying that protein deficient diet as determined by the 24-hour recall survey would result in Protein deficiency, when that was not the case. The advertisement’s claim, “And your regular diet isn’t sufficient to meet your daily protein requirement,” was considered to be misleading by implication, as it implies that Protinex is a replacement for regular diet.
    • Shree Maruti Herbal (Stay On Power Capsule): The advertisement’s claims, “Its proper intake gradually revived my vigour, vitality, energy & helped my confident game with match winning performances,” “Viva Stay-On . . . . for longer, stronger & bigger performance,” were not substantiated with evidence of effectiveness and were misleading by exaggeration. Also, the claim,” . . . for longer, stronger & bigger performance,” read in conjunction with pack visual of a man and woman, with a qualifier that the product is only for men (“Herbal Supplement for men”), implies that the product is meant for enhancement of sexual pleasure which is in breach of the law as it violates The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
    • Shree Maruti Herbal (Stay-On Oral Liquid): The advertisement’s claims, “Quick Acting” and “Get charged for the intense pleasure” were not substantiated for this proprietary product. The advertisement is also in breach of the law as it violates The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
    • Truweight Wellness Pvt. Ltd. (Truweight Loss Program): The advertisement’s claims, “See Results in 10* Days! Or your money back*!” and “India’s first honest weight loss program where you lose weight through superfoods, not weight loss pills, gadgets, surgery or false promises.” were not substantiated and were misleading by exaggeration.