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Updated: ASCI calls out Ola Cabs, Airtel, Hike Messenger & others for false advertising


Update: In an e-mail to MediaNama Vodafone India said:

“The advertiser (Vodafone) representatives were given personal hearing by ASCI Secretariat. The CCC viewed the TVC (TV ad), and the Website advertisement and considered the Advertiser’s response. The advertiser argues that their claim of being the World’s Largest 4G network is made on the basis of the presence of Vodafone 4G in more countries than any other brand which is also qualified by a disclaimer. As claim support data, the advertiser submitted independent survey reports. The CCC concluded that the claim “The World’s Largest 4G Network”, was substantiated. The complaints were NOT UPHELD”

Earlier: The Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) has upheld complaints (pdf) against 80 out of 133 advertisements brought to it in February 2016. These advertisements belonged to various categories: 48 in education, 13 in healthcare, 5 in Food & Beverages, and 14 from other categories.

Note that 2 ads from Ola Cabs and 2 other ads from Hike Messenger has been called by ASCI in its latest report.

In telecommunication and broadband

Bharti Airtel’s ‘Airtel 4G’ ad was found to be breaching ASCI’s guidelines on ‘supers’—disclaimer text displayed on a visual. The language used and the hold duration of the ‘super’ text violated previous guidelines issued by ASCI.

Vodafone India’s claim in its ‘Vodafone 4G Network’ ad, which read “World’s Largest 4G Network, now in Kochi” was not substantiated with evidence. In addition, the claim was found to be misleading in the absence of an appropriate disclaimer/qualifier.

Hathway Cable’s claim, “10 TIMES FASTER” in its “Hathway Broadband Internet” advertisement was substantiated but was found to be misleading by omission of an appropriate disclaimer.

Reliance Communication’s claim, “India’s finest 3G network” in its “Reliance Upgrade to 3G” advertisement was not substantiated adequately and is also found to be misleading by exaggeration.

In cab-aggregators

Ola Cab’s  advertisement that claimed, “Ride an OLA for just Rs 8/km”, was not substantiated and was also found to be misleading by ambiguity by the ASCI.

Another Ola Cab’s ad, which read, “Now pay lesser for your cab ride. Travel in Delhi-NCR starting at just Rs.25. Open the app & use code NCR25. TCA,” was not substantiated with evidence. In addition, the term `TCA’ in the SMS advertisement was found to be misleading by ambiguity.

In PC/hardware

Hewlett Packard India’s ad with the headline “Upto 480 pages for just Rs 475/- per cartridge” was found to be misleading by ambiguity and implication, as the claim of “Upto 480 pages” is in reference to ISO test page yield for a standard black cartridge. The HP advertisement aired visuals of colored print outs appearing along the headline.

In messaging app

Hike Messenger’s advertisement, which claimed “5 times faster” was not substantiated and was found to be misleading by ambiguity, and by omission of a reference comparison.

– Another Hike Messenger ad aired on TV, wherein visuals of students playing a prank and as a result “a bursting sound in the classroom while the teacher is teaching,” depicts a dangerous practice, according to the ASCI. It also added that ‘such a depiction could be avoided’.

Click here for our previous coverage on similar ASCI reports

Image Credit: Wikipedia User Alan Cleaver

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