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Thursday, February 10, 2022

(mis)leading Advertisements ! - which tooth-paste do you use ??

In this beautiful world, people often get carried away by the advertisements. Quite often, we see products being endorsed by cine and sports icon and the market sales queering up.  This is a multi-crore industry. The Advt. usually includes the name of the product or service and how it would be of service or benefit to the consumer. By branding and repeatedly flashing them on screen, Companies create an image that the product is far superior that others without having any scientific base to that claim.


The first thing that greets a person is the smile and hence it is all about ‘teeth’.  Teeth are intended to last a lifetime – olden days, people never had so much of problems with their tooth and there were not so many dentists around.  An average person has 32 teeth. That number includes 4 wisdom teeth. We have 8 incisors, 4 canines, 12 molars and 8 pre-molars. Marketing has done more damage to tooth than anything else!  – in olden days, people used tree branches especially of  Indian Banyan tree and that of neem tree.  .. .. the one featured here is a famous toothpowder brand ‘Gopal palpodi’ 

ஆலும் வேலும் பல்லுக்கு உறுதி ;  நாலும் இரண்டும் சொல்லுக்குறுதி -  என்ற பழமொழியை நிச்சயம் கேள்விப்பட்டு இருப்பீர்கள். இதில் வரும் நாலும் என்ற சொல் நாலடியாரையும் இரண்டும் என்ற சொல் திருக்குறளையும் குறிக்கிறது. ஆலும், வேலும் பல்லுக்கு உறுதி அளிக்கிறது. அதுபோல் நாலடியாரையும், திருக்குறளையும் கற்றவர்கள் சொல்வன்மையும் உறுதியும் பெற்றவர்கள் ஆகிறார்கள்.  

Now the advertisement asks you, whether there is salt in your toothpaste ? – why salt – and if it is essential, why the same brand was not having it earlier nor having salt in some other products of the same brand.  Colgate [forget coalgate for sometime] has become a household name; the other top brand toothpastes  are – Colgate, Pepsodent, Babool, SEnsodyne, Cibaca, Neem, Vicco and more..  at some point – advts ridiculed the age-old practice asking – using charcoal ? – and decades later another brand hyped that it has ‘coal’ as its constituent !!  

Another product that we use daily  Old timers will well remember the global brand Lux … and its advertisements in Kumudam of the bathing girl of Liril.  Lux was touted to be the soap for and used by cine actresses.  Lux has a long history of the mass marketed toilet soap, the one that pioneered female celebrity endorsements. Since its launch in 1924, Lux has been endorsed by some of the world’s most beautiful women, with stars including Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot appearing in some of its early advertising. In more recent years, celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Catherine Zeta Jones and Jennifer Lopez have also fronted Lux campaigns. In India, Sridevi promoted this brand for long……….marketed as ‘soap that cine actress uses’…


There are some advertisements nauseating  like that of ‘Domex’ – toilet cleaner – they cannot help but showing how their product cleans – but to watch the advertisement when eating can be excruciating …….  Those behind making the advertisements try to cash in on sentiments, mass appeal, popularity, and more to ensure that the product is much spoken of, and some land up creating a bad one.    

Consumer protection regulator CCPA has passed an order against GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare Ltd directing it to discontinue advertisements of Sensodyne products in India for flouting norms. The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has also passed an order against Naaptol Online Shopping Ltd for misleading advertisements and unfair trade practice, and asked it pay a penalty of Rs 10 lakh. CCPA took suo moto cognisance of the matter and passed an order against GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare on January 27, and against Naaptol on February 2 this year, the consumer affairs ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. 

As per the order, the CCPA has directed GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare to discontinue all advertisements for Sensodyne in the country within seven days of the issuance of the order as the ads showed dentists practicing outside India endorsing the products. Given that the regulations governing dentists in India clearly bar endorsement of any product or drug publicly, the CCPA said GSK Consumer Healthcare “cannot be allowed to circumvent the law in force in India and show foreign dentists to exploit consumer apprehension towards tooth sensitivity.”  “Therefore, advertisement of Sensodyne products in India which show endorsements by dentists practising outside India qualify as ‘misleading advertisement’ in terms of Section 2 (28) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019,” the order said.  

The CCPA has also directed Director General (Investigation) to submit a report within 15 days after probing the claims “recommended by dentists worldwide”, “world’s no.1 sensitivity toothpaste” and “clinically proven relief, works in 60 seconds” and the documents submitted by the company in support of these claims.  “We confirm the receipt of the order from the CCPA. While we are looking into it in detail, we would like to clarify that our marketing initiatives are compliant with the applicable laws and industry guidelines. We are a responsible and compliant company which is committed to the welfare of its consumers,” GSK Consumer Healthcare spokesperson said in a statement.  

Taking up another suo moto case, the CCPA passed an order against Naaptol Online Shopping Ltd asking the company to discontinue misleading advertisements of “Set of 2 Gold Jewelry”, “Magnetic Knee Support” and “Acupressure Yoga Slippers”.  The CCPA has also imposed a penalty of Rs 10 lakh on Naaptol, saying its misleading advertisements have had a far reaching impact on numerous consumers as the company runs a 24X7 channel and is broadcast on a daily basis across the country in various languages. Naaptol was directed to clearly mention in the episodes offering products for sale to consumers that it is a recorded episode and does not show the live status of inventory of the production, the order said. It further directed Naaptol to immediately discontinue any practices which create “artificial scarcity” of products, including showing that the product is available only today if it is going to be on sale within the next 30 days as well.  

Interesting ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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