Twenty-nine percent of the complaints that the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) received in FY 21-22 about ads involved influencers. The top six violative categories included emerging sectors such as gaming and cryptocurrency. And 48 percent of the ads that ASCI processed were published digitally, the industry body stated in its Annual Complaints Report FY 21-22. Here's a snapshot.
Of the 1,728 ads looked into in 2021-22, 99 percent needed modification and one case was dismissed. Six percent of all education ads looked into were from edtech. 90 percent of the ads evaluated in the category were in print.
Most of the violation claims under the Education sector pertained to leadership, awards and rankings, and job guarantee claims. Comparative superlative claims such as 'highest success' and 'lowest fees' and performance outcome claims like 'best results' and 'success assured' were also common.
In addition, there were a significant number of money-back guarantee claims usually clubbed with result-oriented/outcome-related claims.
Teachmint Technologies Private Limited and Sorting Hat Technologies Private Limited (Unacademy) had 7 ads each that required modification. Five ads from Think & Learn Private Limited (Byju's, Akash Byju's) had to be modified.
Of the 383 ads looked into, 94 percent needed modification; 99 percent of all ads were on digital media.
Eight ads featuring celebrities were found to be misleading and 22 ads had Influencer Disclosure violations.
Most violation claims in the Gaming sector pertained to leadership, guaranteed winnings, prize money assurance and safety, security & privacy claims. Other claims involved consumer trust, such as 'trusted by 3 billion users', and comparative claims like 'win better' and 'X times more winnings' were also seen.
The top five companies with the most ads in violation of the ASCI codes are NxGn Sports Interactive Pvt. Ltd for Twelfth Man (63 ads), GIG WORK PRIVATE LIMITED for Khelo Fantasy (60 ads), Rolls Networks Private Limited for Namma11 (35 ads), BLOSSOMFIELD GAMINGZONE for Sportasy (33 ads) and Winner Games Pvt. Ltd for DeccanRummy (33 ads).
Virtual Digital Assets (VDA)
Of the 394 ads examined, 98 percent were digital, 95 percent required modification and 385 had Influencer Disclosure violations
In terms of the procedural outcomes of cases that required modification, 53 percent saw an informal resolution — the decision was not contested.
Most advertisements looked into in this sector were influencer disclosure cases where influencers were talking about how to navigate VDA platforms, or sharing information about the category and how the platform is easy to operate on.
Among the ads that made misleading claims, leadership and consumer trust claims were most common. Guaranteed earnings, and performance comparisons with other modes of investments like Gold and stock investment were next.
The other common complaints revolved around promoting the category through referral programme claims such as 'refer a friend and win'.
The top five companies with the most ads in violation were Binomo (296), Neblio Technologies – CoinDCX (45), nOFTEN (13), Bitcipher Labs LLP – CoinSwitch Kuber (9) and Zanmai Labs – WazirX (3).