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Advertising Watchdog Upholds Misleading Ad Complaints Against Paytm, FreeCharge and Others

Paytm customers across Punjab can now tap on the ‘Electricity’ icon in their Paytm app, choose Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to pay bills. 
 (Representative Image: Reuters)

Paytm customers across Punjab can now tap on the ‘Electricity’ icon in their Paytm app, choose Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to pay bills. (Representative Image: Reuters)

The Customer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI also upheld complaints against several online retailers such as Amazon, Paytm, FreeCharge, Cleartrip and Pepperfry.

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Advertising sector watchdog ASCI upheld complaints against 100 misleading advertisements in November, including those of HUL, Indigo Airlines, Emami, Idea Cellular, Philips, Marico, Bajaj Auto and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer.

Read more: Top 5 Xiaomi Android Smartphones Under Rs 10,000

The Customer Complaints Council (CCC) of Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) also upheld complaints against several online retailers such as Amazon, Paytm, FreeCharge, Cleartrip and Pepperfry.

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During the month, ASCI received 152 complaints, out of which it upheld 43 in the healthcare category, 17 in education, 11 in personal care, 7 in food and beverages and 6 in the e-commerce segment.

Read more: Snapdeal-owned Shopo to Down its Shutters Today

The ad regulator received two complaints against two-wheeler maker Bajaj Auto for TVC of its Pulsar motorcycle which showed the rider performing stunts on the streets.

"Regardless of the disclaimer, the specific visuals showing the stunts performed by the rider in normal traffic and/or in presence of bystanders and public encourages dangerous practices, manifests a disregard for safety and encourages negligence and contravenes the ASCI Codes," it said.

Commenting on the matter, Bajaj Auto VP Marketing Sumeet Narang said: "We have received communication from ASCI regarding a couple of sequences in a Pulsar campaign. Pulsar is a performance brand and all our films are shot under controlled environment using expert riders. The sets and CG work is done in a way to give it a realistic look."

"The creative depiction of the sequence is what has been questioned. We have briefed our agency to take a relook at the sequences mentioned to ensure complete compliance with laid out guidelines," he said.

The ad regulator also upheld complaint against mobile payments company Paytm, terming its claim of 'flat 50 percent cashback' on booking of two movie tickets "misleading by ambiguity".

Commenting on it, a Paytm spokesperson said: "The messaging of 'Flat 50 pc' was exactly in lines of how the market communicates such offers, and details of the offer were clearly visible on the banner ad. However, ASCI felt that we needed to make certain modifications, and we took their inputs on board."

ASCI also pulled up FMCG major HUL and termed its ad of Lakme Youth Infinity range of products as 'misleading' after it failed to substantiate its claims that it "keeps the contoured look of youth".

Another FMCG firm Emami was also pulled up for its ad of Keshking Ayurvedic Oil and Shampoo, which it claimed was 'Ultimate Solution for Hair Fall'. The company could not substantiate its claim, following which CCC termed the ad "misleading by exaggeration".

Mails sent to HUL and Emami seeking their response remained unanswered.

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