The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has termed India’s leading cellular operator Bharti Airtel’s ‘4G speed challenge promotional advertisement’ as misleading. The ASCI has asked premier Indian telecom operator to withdraw this misleading advertisement by October 7. Airtel said it has called for decision review and is ready to back its claims with numbers.
Airtel in its advertisement made tall claims by stating Airtel 4G as ‘the fastest network ever’. Throwing an open challenge in the advertisement is said: ‘If your network is faster, we will pay your mobile bills for life.’ The ASCI has raised objections over the missing appropriate disclaimers in the print and television ad.
“The claim in the ad, ‘Airtel 4G is the fastest network ever’ and ‘If your network is faster, we will pay your mobile bills for life’, is misleading by omission in the absence of appropriate disclaimers in the print, TV, hoarding advertisements. The advertisement contravened Chapter 1.4 of the code,” ASCI said in an order, as published in Mint.
ASCI further added: “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.”
One of the Airtel’s official spokesperson acknowledged that the company had received a notice from ASCI. He said that the company is ready with its defense and will revert to ASCI on the notice soon. He said: “We are confident of getting a favorable response from them.” Airtel launched its nationwide 4G challenge ad campaign soon after it rolled out its high-speed LTE service in 296 Indian cities in August.
Now, Airtel offers its 4G services in over 300 cities in India. The company is employing an aggressive marketing strategy to further strengthen its grip on the market before Reliance Jio’s official launch. Reliance group subsidiary is lone telecom operator who won nationwide spectrum in 4G bandwidth. Jio is expected to launch its services by in the month of December.