Advertising watchdog ASCI has once again pulled up yoga guru Baba Ramdev-promoted Patanjali Ayurved for running “misleading” ad campaigns that disparages competitors’ products. The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) said that Patanjali Ayurved “unfairly denigrates” products of its rivals in the advertisements. The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) found that Patanjali’s claim for its ‘Kachi Ghani Mustard Oil’ that rival makers are selling mustard oil “adulterated with oil made by solvent extraction process with neurotoxin containing Hexane”, was not substantiated. “Also, the claim is grossly misleading by exaggeration,” the ad regulator said in its list for the month of April, 2016, in which it upheld 67 complaints against several companies. Besides, Patanjali also failed to substantiate its claims for Fruit Juice, where it had claimed rival brands as “expensive juices containing less pulp”.
According to the regulator, the ad was accompanied by reference to the prices of other branded juices and “by implication unfairly denigrates the entire class/category of fruit juices”. Similarly, it also failed to substantiate its claims in the ad for cattle feed ‘Patanjali Dugdhamrut’ as “other companies mix 3 to 4 per cent urea and other non-edible things in their cattle feed.” ASCI also held Patanjali Ayurved’s ads for toothpaste ‘Patanjali Dant Kanti’ as misleading as it did not substantiate claims of it being effective against pyorrhoea, swelling and bleeding of gums, yellowing of teeth, sensitivity and bad breath and provides a natural shield against germs.
When contacted, a Patanjali Ayurved spokesperson said the company is looking into the details and exploring legal options in this matter. “We are looking into the details and are in talks with the legal department,” he said. In May this year, ASCI had rapped Patanjali Ayurved for “false and misleading” claims in its various advertisements, including its hair oil and washing powder brands, while issuing list for month of March. ASCI has also pulled up companies like Nissan Motors, Tata Motors, Amazon, Pernod Ricard India, Reckitt Benckiser, Colgate-Palmolive, Procter & Gamble Hygiene & Health Care, Hindustan Unilever, Idea Cellular, Reliance Industries. It upheld complaints against an ad of Nissan Sunny, where Nissan Motors has shown the driver speaking on the phone, vehicles coming from the wrong sides, car overtaking from the wrong side and the driver not wearing seat belt.