India’s largest telecom provider, Airtel, has been asked to withdraw their 4G advertisements, as they are misleading the customers.
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), which is an advertising governing body, has taken severe note of the way Airtel is projecting their 4G services as the best in the country, without any evidence or proof. ASCI took this decision after an unnamed person filed complains against them.
Airtel has confirmed this news, and have informed that they are working with ASCI to show them technical evidence of their claim. They said, “We are engaging with ASCI to provide them with the technical data in support of our advertising claims and are following the prescribed process to schedule a review of the said issue..”
What Triggered This Notice?
In their print and video advertisements, Airtel has been declaring two statements on a consistent basis: ‘Airtel 4G is the fastest network ever’ and ‘If your network is faster, we will pay your mobile bills for life’. This, as per ASCI guidelines, and ethics of advertisements, is wrong.
First of all, there is no such official calibration done to support the claim that Airtel is the fastest network; and there is no way a consumer can determine whether Airtel is the fastest network or not.
Further, regarding their promise of paying mobile bills for life also seems like a fictional-marketing story to grab more eyeballs. A customer is not aware how to check these claims, and how to contact Airtel regarding free bill payments.
ASCI has given a deadline of October 7th for withdrawing these advertisements.
ASCI I their notice said, “We have advised the Advertiser to withdraw or to modify appropriately the said advertisement before 7 October 2015 or seek a review of the decision. If you continue to see the advertisement after the due date, kindly bring the same to our notice.”
ASCI Taking On Telecom Operators
This is not the first time when ASCI has cracked the whip on telecom operators, pertaining to false claims and over-the-board promises.
In April this year, ASCI said that Idea Cellular’s advertisements for IIN (Idea Internet Network) are misleading. These ads basically showcased how Internet can transform lives in rural areas. In one particular video ad, they have shown bias visuals, which give an impression that all women in Haryana are backward.
Just like Airtel, when Vodafone created advertisements with text: “Share photos 43% faster” and “The fastest 3G network”; ASCI rapped them, and asked them to withdraw such misleading ads.
In case you happen to see any such advertisement, which is misleading, biased, showcases a particular ideology without any proof, then don’t hesitate to complain directly to ASCI.