Indian Lube Ads Rebuked


Indias advertising industry watchdog upheld recent complaints against allegedly misleading advertisements from two lubricant suppliers.

Lube campaigns from state-run oil marketers Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. were among those rebuked in a recent crop of complaints upheld by the Advertising Standards Council of India. Complaints against brands from various sectors have been upheld for not abiding by the codes of self-regulation put forth by ASCI, said ASCI Chairman Abanti Sankaranarayanan in a statement last month.

IOCL, which sells Servo-branded lubricants, was called out for its advertisements claim to be Indias largest-selling trusted lubricants, as it failed to provide substantial facts and figures to support that claim, ASCI said. The claim was not substantiated with verifiable comparative data of the advertisers product and other competitive products, or with market sales data or through third-party validation, the ASCIs Customer Complaints Council observed.

Also, the claim Selected super brand India 2014-2015 was found to be misleading by ambiguity and exaggeration, as associated survey data was unsubstantiated and outdated, according to the advertising watchdog.

The ASCI asked IOCL to temporarily suspend the print ad in question until the facts in the claim can be verified, according to an IOCL spokesman. The lube supplier, which has ceased the ad, has spent approximately Rs 50 lakh (Rs 5 million, or U.S. $78,621) over the past year on the campaign, he noted.

The matter is under review by [ASCI], and we are in the process of presenting them the relevant documents to prove our claim [to be] the largest-selling lubricants in India, the spokesman told Lube Report Asia. ASCI will make a decision after an upcoming hearing on the issue.

The agency also responded to complaints about a HPCL advertisement. The visual of a rider and pillion rider on a two-wheeler without helmets depicted in a standing display promo shows a violation of traffic rules and unsafe practice, the ASCI said. A pillion is a passenger’s saddle or seat behind the driver’s seat on a motorcycle.

The ASCI generally gives advertisers some time to modify advertisements that dont comply with the organizations self-regulation guidelines, said Pallavi Arora, the councils assistant manager of marketing, public relations and social media.

According to the ad watchdogs website, more than 80 percent of advertisements it found misleading in the past year were tweaked or withdrawn. The council reviews new ads and complaints every month.

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