Campaigns featuring actors Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, badminton player Saina Nehwal have been rapped by the advertising industry's self-regulatory body ASCI for suspect and misleading claims.
In all the campaigns, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has found that the brands could not prove that the celebrity had done due diligence prior to endorsing the product, an official statement said.
Bachchan's ad for Step App was found to be promoting "gamified school education" by promising them a prize money of Rs 5,000-Rs 1 crore and it was not clear how this becomes a "scholarship", it said. The brand endorsed by Bachchan could not show the corpus of Rs 50 crore as claimed, nor could it establish how the scholarship offered by it is larger than rivals, it said.
For Akshay and Kareena, it was their endorsement of Indira IVF Hospital during a movie co-promotion that made the unsubstantiated claim of being the country's largest and most successful IVF and fertility chain, which earned them the flak.
Hrithik's endorsement for Jolly Tulsi 51 Drops was found to have made an unsubstantiated claim of saving or protecting from diseases, it said.
In the case of Saina Nehwal's endorsement of Rasna Native Haat Honey Vita, claims of the product strengthening bones and aiding muscle redevelopment were unsubstantiated, it said.
For February, the ASCI investigated complaints against 279 ads, of which 101 were promptly withdrawn, while the independent Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) evaluated the remaining 178 advertisements, of which complaints against 171 advertisements were upheld, it said.
Of these 171 advertisements, 77 belonged to the education sector, 59 to healthcare, six were from real estate, and five each from visa/immigration services and personal care segments, it said.
Other brands which faced flak included Bajaj Auto for its campaign for the Platina motorcycle featuring a pillion rider shaving the rider's beard while on the move that was deemed to be a promotion of a dangerous act and Ultratech Cement for its unsubstantiated claim of being the number one in India, it said.