By Ashley Young-
Leading brands like Vodafone and Amazon have been reprimanded by a watchdog in India for misleading ads.
The list of unscrupulous organisations misleading the public through dishonest advertising was released by the Advertising Standard Council Of India (ASCI) on Tuesday.
As many as 130 advertisements across various segments like healthcare, education, telecom, food & beverages, and personal care were found to be misleading.
A total of 199 complaints were received by the ad watchdog, Vodaphone and Amazon were among them.
Watchdog ASCI pointed out:
“While the said claim was qualified by a disclaimer to declare the details of the free offer – “Buy 3 units of 125g soaps and get 1 unit of 75g free”, the placement position of the disclaimer was not on the same panel of the packaging as the claim made,” ASCI has pointed out. It was concluded that the packaging claim, “Buy 3 Get 1 Free”, contravened Chapter I.4 of the ASCI guidelines.
Amazon India was found to be on the wrong in connection with its Woodland Wallet for Men ad. The ad watchdog has taken the view that the disclaimer, “Terms found to have contravened ASCI rules.
Vodafone India was true to type when the limit of 300 minutes per day mentioned in their advertisement, was deemed to be misleading. The offer was in fact for 28 days. The advertisement contravened the ASCI Code as well as Clause 1 of ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers.
“A disclaimer can expand or clarify a claim, make qualifications, or resolve ambiguities, to explain the claim in further details, but should not contradict the material claim made or contradict the main message conveyed by the advertiser or change the dictionary meaning of the words used in the claim as received or perceived by a consumer, ASCI has stated.
Startup food ordering company Pisces eServices Pvt. Ltd (Foodpanda) was also wrong in advertising on Amazon that it had “Upto 50% off.” The advertised product was not actually available for sale at the discounted price and no customers had actually benefited from the offer. It was also claimed that KFC and Pizza Hut had 100% original products, a claim proven to be false.
Amazon’s claim to prevent unscrupulous ads on its site failed the test here. The watchdog told the organisations that it was their duty to clarify ambiguities and omissions and not ”convey or contradict the main message”