Ads of coaching franchise upheld by ASCI

ASCI had introduced the guidelines for advertising by educational institutions

jasleen

Jasleen Kaur | November 23, 2010



Complaints against Career Launcher, a coaching franchise, were upheld by Advertising Standards Council of India's (ASCI) consumers' complaints court (CCC) as the claims the group made were found to be unsubstantiated.

The complaints pertained to claims of highest success rate, number of students taking tests, and being the most successful trainer in Mumbai. The company could not substantiate any of the claims with data. Thus, CCC asked for the ads to be withdrawn which was complied with.

In a similar case, advertisements by T.I.M.E Institute, another coaching franchise, were asked to be withdrawn as the institute did not substantiate its claim of being the best-ranked institute for GMAT at the time. Another claim by Education Matters on its website about its association with the British Deputy High Commission was unsubstantiated and it was directed to withdraw the claim from its website.

This is the impact of the recently introduced ASCI’s guidelines for the education sector. Of the total 12 complaints received by the ASCI, the apex self-regulatory body for advertising content of the Indian advertising industry, in the month six were against advertisements of education institutes and the rest against FMCG, travel and appliances companies.

ASCI’s secretary general Alan Collaco said, “The recent guidelines for education sector seems to be showing visible effects. The guidelines were much debated and well received by industry and citizens alike. Over 50 percent of the complaints this time around were against educational institutes. The growing awareness and increased complaints is a good sign for the self regulated ad content guidelines of ASCI in India.”

From the FMCG sector, the television commercial of Colgate Sensitive toothpaste was found to be misleading from the aspect of its visual showing “others” toothpastes  having only 1 out of 4 dentists’ recommending them when the figure was actually more. The company was asked to modify this aspect of the commercial.

However, the company was able to substantiate its claims of “relief from pain for sensitive teeth” and “3 out of every 4 dentists recommend Colgate Sensitive” with supporting data.  Colgate-Palmolive has assured appropriate modification of the ad.

Also, the implication that Dabur Pudin Hara’s does not contain any chemicals was found to be misleading by ASCI. The ad was instructed by the CCC to be modified appropriately. On the other hand, the company could successfully substantiate the claim of “relief from pain and acidity” with supporting data.

In a case of comparative advertising, an ice-cream brand of Supreme Food Industries – MeriiBoy Ice Cream – was found to be misleading the consumers by claiming that the contents of competitor’s products were artificial. The CCC found the comparison between MeriiBoy Icecream and Medium Fat Frozen Dessert as unfair and misleading. As per the CCC decision, the leaflets were withdrawn from the market and website content modified by the advertiser. The complaint against Nirali Appliances of claiming savings on electricity and several power related claims was found to be unsubstantiated by any proper or relevant authority on energy. Upon CCC’s ruling, the advertiser assured that such claims will not be repeated in leaflets and on the website.

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