| Last Updated:: 08/12/2017

The misleading advertising and labelling for the purpose of promoting a product or a business interest is unethical and illegal. Businesses should not make any performance claims unless they can back them up.


What is a misleading advertisement?


Any advertisement or promotion through Television, Radio, or any other electronic media, Newspapers, Banners, Posters, Handbills, wall-writing, etc. to misrepresent the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin of goods, services or commercial activities so as to mislead the consumer could be broadly defined as a misleading advertisement.


Consumer Education and Research Centre and CERC-ENVIS do monitoring and analysis of advertisements in the national media and large parts of vernacular media (print, audio, video). It complaints to regulatory bodies for rectification/withdrawal of ads, penalties on advertisers.


For awareness creation here are products and services claiming GREEN…….


Lotus Herbals Safe Sun: At face value?


The print advertisement of Lotus Herbals Safe Sun claimed that the product was “finger snap tested” (to prove it wasn’t greasy), “easily absorbed”, “non-oily” and gave the “matte look”. What did the name “Safe Sun” imply? The other claims needed to be substantiated with independent studies. Moreover, the advt claimed that the product was ‘India’s 1st matte gel sunscreen’. We complained to the Grievances Against Misleading Advertisements (GAMA) portal. As no response was received from the advertiser, ASCI concluded that the claims were not substantiated with product efficacy data. Also, the claim, “India’s 1st matte gel sunscreen”, was not substantiated with comparative market survey data with other sunscreen products. All the claims were misleading by exaggeration. The advertisement contravened Chapters I.1 and I.4 of the ASCI Code. The advertiser was advised to withdraw or modify the advt. Absence of data


Tetley Super Green Tea


In the television commercial of Tetley Super Green Tea, Sourav Ganguly is expected to display ‘superhuman’ skills by catching a milk packet, flower pot and soft toy thrown suddenly at him. We objected to the scene showing a flower pot being pushed off the ledge of a balcony. We questioned the quantity of the claimed energy and immunity boosters, vitamins B6 and C. Also, the TVC claimed that the product was the first of its kind in India. We complained to the Grievances Against Misleading Advertisements (GAMA) portal.


They observed that the advertiser had not submitted evidence of conducting a market survey before claiming to be “First time in India”. Also, no data were presented with respect to stability and bio-availability of the vitamins post storage or when the tea was brewed. It was also opined that the flowerpot scene was dangerous and had the potential of encouraging children to imitate such acts. This TVC contravened Chapters I.1, I.4 and III.2 (b) of the ASCI Code. The advertiser agreed to remove the flowerpot scene from the TVC as well as correct the disclaimers.


Ocean Fruit Wave

Ocean Fruit Wave fruit drink claimed to contain real fruit juice, glucose, vitamins B3, B6, B9 and B12 and no artificial sweeteners or colours. Moreover, the print advt showed an illustration of fruits saying “You can squeeze those bottles instead of me”. Another illustration of berries had a caption: “Yeah, it’s all me”. We complained about these exaggerated claims.


ASCI referred the advt to its technical expert and upheld two of our objections. The advice to “squeeze the bottles” and have the drink instead of fresh fruit violated ASCI Guidelines on Advertising of Food and Beverages Clause 5 (“mislead as to the nutritive value of the beverage”). Also, regarding the claim “it’s all me”, ASCI felt that the implication was that the product was, in its entire content, the fruit, which is not true. As such, the claim was misleading by implication and violative of the provisions of Chapter 1.1 and 1.4 of the ASCI code. The advertiser has agreed to remove this claim from the advt.


Real Wellnezz Jamun


The print advertisement of Real Wellnezz Jamun claims ‘100% juice content’ and ‘900 g Jamun in a pack’. But the pack size is not mentioned. So, it is unclear what the percentage of jamun juice in the product actually is. Also, the product label says: ‘Jamun and mixed fruit juice’. This is confusing. So, we brought the advt to the notice of the Grievances Against Misleading Advertisements (GAMA) portal.


From the advertiser’s response, GAMA concluded that the product may be considered as 100% juice consisting of jamun and mixed fruit juice. While the claim, ‘100% Juice content’ was substantiated, the visual presentation of this claim overly emphasized the visuals of jamun in and around the 100% numerical drawn in purple juice, which implied that the product contained 100% jamun juice. The reference to mixed fruit juice in the advertisement was, in comparison, very fleeting. The advertisement contravened Chapter I.4 of the ASCI Code. The advertiser has been advised to withdraw or modify the advt.