ASCI finds iPhone X, Mahindra Scorpio ads disregardful of safety

Advertising watchdog ASCI has objected to the television ads of Apple iPhone X and Mahindra and Mahindra’s Scorpio in India for depicting dangerous practices.

In the advertisement of iPhone X, a male protagonist is seen playing virtual reality game and is typing a message on the iPhone while walking on the road; he subsequently imagines the characters from game in real life and is seen jumping, kicking and hitting the creatures advancing towards him. All these acts are done by a boy on the road amongst people and moving vehicles. These acts show a dangerous practice without justifiable reason, manifest a disregard for safety and encourage negligence. The actions shown are likely to encourage minors to emulate such acts in a manner which could cause harm or injury, ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) found while upholding the complaint against the ad.

Similarly, in Mahindra Scorpio’s ad, an SUV was seen driving in the middle of the road on the straight line. As per traffic rules, one must not change lanes or drive on the straight line and the advertisement did not abide by the ASCI code. This scene in the TVC portrays traffic rule violation. It also encourages unsafe or reckless driving which could harm the driver and general public.  Furthermore, the visual in the TVC did not have a cautionary message drawing the viewer’s attention to the depiction of stunts.

Some of the leading FMCG brands, including those belonging to Hindustan Unilever and Marico, also came under the scanner of advertising watchdog ASCI. Hindustan Unilever’s Sunsilk think and Long, Lifebouy Haldi soap and Ayush face creams, Marico’s Saffola oil, L’Oreal’s Garnier men Acnofight facewash and Reckitt Benckiser’s New Veet Nikhaar are some of the brands that figured in the list.

ASCI found that HUL’s Sunsilk Thick and Long endorsed by Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt claimed “two times thicker looking hair”. While the advertiser substantiated the claims, the disclaimer, “Based on lab test with Sunsilk Thick and Long shampoo and conditioner verses unclean hair”, qualifying the comparative claim “Two times thicker looking hair”, was not positioned in close proximity of the claim. While Lifebouy Haldi soap’s claim was found misleading, the claims by Lever Ayush Antimarks Turmeric face cream and Natural fairness saffron face cream were unsubstantiated. It also found claims by Pure Derm shampoo and Red Label Care as misleading by omission and ambiguity.

Marico’s Saffola Active and Saffola Gold’s claim of lesser absorption and power of antioxidants also was found to be inadequately substantiated.

Another personal care brand L’Oréal’s Garnier Men Acnofight Facewash endorsed by celebrity Tiger Shroff was found to be misleading by exaggeration. Reckitt Benckiser’s New Veet Nikhaar’s claim of “100 per cent natural turmeric extracts” was considered to be misleading.

ASCI investigated complaints against 590 advertisements in August and September. For 131 advertisements, the advertisers promptly ensured corrective action as soon as the complaints were received. ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 355 advertisements from a total of 459 advertisements evaluated by them.

Sangeetha G.