The rise of misleading advertisements in India

We accessed six years’ data from India’s ad regulatory body. The findings show some worrying trends.

“Nearly every ad exaggerates,” says Prahlad Kakkar, veteran ad film maker. A pack of instant noodles rarely cooks instantly. A pizza order often doesn’t make it to your doorstep in 30 minutes. “But as long as it is within reasonable limits, and as long as the product/service does the job it promises, it’s overlooked.”

But sometimes, these claims defy reason. That’s when you need a watchdog. In India, that’s the Advertising Standards Council of India.

The ASCI is a voluntary, self-regulatory body consisting of members drawn from marketing, creative, media and allied companies. It investigates consumer complaints as well as …


Omkar Khandekar

Omkar specializes in long-form narrative features and has reported from India, the UK, Germany and the Maldives. He writes across beats, from politics and crime to cinema and sports. His works have been published in Indian and international outlets including The Caravan, Mint Lounge, the BBC, Al Jazeera and The Huffington Post.

Senior Features Writer