The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has rapped Patanjali Ayurved for “false and misleading” claims in various advertisements, including for its hair oil and washing powder brands. 

The advertising sector watchdog has ruled that the advertisements of the group associated with Yoga Guru Ramdev “unfairly denigrates” other products in the market.

b’Baba Ramdev | Source : AFP’

The Customer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI has also upheld complaints against advertisements by Johnson & Johnson, Amazon, Kalyan Jewellers and ITC, among other companies.

In March, the CCC received 156 complaints, out of which it upheld complaints against as many as 90 advertisements, terming them as “false and misleading”. The complaints upheld included 32 advertisements in the education category, 30 in the healthcare and personal care category, and 10 in the food and beverages category.

In three categories listed by ASCI, namely, Food and Beverages, Health and Personal Care and Others, Patanjali ads were found misleading.

Patanjali’s ‘misleading’ ads

Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. (Patanjali Kesh Kanti Natural Hair Cleanser & Oil) : The CCC found Patanjali’s advertisement claim for its product Patanjali Kesh Kanti Natural Hair Cleanser and Oil that “mineral oil is carcinogenic in nature and may cause cancer” was false and misleading by ambiguity and by gross exaggeration.

b’Source : Video grab’

Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. (Patanjali Kachi Ghani Mustard Oil) : “The advertisement’s claims that “other than Kacchi Ghani process, most of the other edible refined oils and mustard oil are made using neurotoxin Hexagon solvent extraction process and that to make profits at the cost of consumers’ health, many companies mix cheap palm oil in mustard oil”, were not substantiated and the claims were misleading. 

“The statement also unfairly denigrates other oils and mustard oil,” the advertising watchdog added.

b’Source : Video grab’

Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. (Patanjali Herbal Washing Powder, Cake and Dishwash Bar) : The claims in the advertisement (in Gujarati) as translated into English for “Patanjali Dishwash Bar”, were not substantiated. Further, the claim of “herbal washing powder, cake and Dishwash bar” was not substantiated with data regarding which herbal ingredients in the product provide the cleaning benefit and evidence for the same. Also, the claim: “Dish wash bars made with chemicals do clean the utensils but they end up damaging the hands”, was not substantiated and unfairly denigrates dish wash bars directly, the body said.

b’Source : Video grab’

Patanjali’s reply to ASCI

When contacted, a Patanjali Ayurved spokesperson said that the company will follow ASCI’s guidelines although it was yet to receive the advertising watchdog’s order. 

“We have given our replies when ASCI had asked for clarifications. We will look into the details of these communications as and when we get it and we will follow the guidelines,” he said.

However, Baba Ramdev’s competitors too were pulled up for misleading ads.

Health and personal care

Amrutanjan Health Care Ltd. (Amrutanjan Pain Balm) : The advertisement’s claim, “India’s No.1 pain balm” was not substantiated and was misleading.

Johnson & Johnson Ltd’s advertisement claim on Benadryl DR was pulled up : CCC ruled that the claim “sookhi khansi ko dobara aane se roke (stops dry cough from reoccurring’) is an absolute claim and was not substantiated.

Bajaj Corp Ltd. (Bajaj Almond Drops Hair Oil): The advertisement’s claims, “It is rich with Almond oil and because of which hair get complete nourishment” and “Gives complete nourishment from root to tip” were not substantiated.

b’Source : Video grab’

Hindustan Unilever Ltd (Clinic Plus Shampoo): The advertisement’s claim, “Clinic Plus has such a protein element, which the body cannot produce. It nourishes hair roots and makes hair up to 35X more strong”, was not substantiated, and was misleading.

Food and Beverages

ITC Ltd. (Aashirvaad Multigrain Atta) : The advertisement’s claim, “India’s No. 1 Atta”, is misleading by ambiguity as the claim support was for the mother brand Aashirvaad whereas the advertised product was only one variant i.e. Aashirvaad Atta with Multigrains. 

b’Source : Video grab’

Others, Inc (Amazon-Return Policy): The advertiser’s website communication provides the terms and conditions applicable for the claim “Easy Returns”. However, the TVC does not have any reference to terms and conditions. The claim “Easy Returns” was therefore misleading by omission of an appropriate disclaimer in the TVC.

b’Source : Video grab’

Kalyan Jewellers: The advertisement’s claim, “Kalyan Jewellers is the biggest jewellery showroom in the world”, was not substantiated with comparative data versus other similar showrooms and was misleading by exaggeration.

Read the full list here.

With input from PTI