Back in September last year, Hero MotoCorp released a new TVC of the Xtreme 200R. The advertisement featured Indian Cricket team captain Virat Kohli in lead. Now, ASCI has stated that this ad is in violation of ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising. ASCI stands for Advertising Standards Council of India. Established in 1985 it is a self-regulatory voluntary organization of the advertising industry in India. ASCI investigated 389 advertisements of various brands and segments and while many of the brands reverted to make the necessary changes, the Hero Xtreme 200R commercial has been the same.
To let you know, ASCI is a non-Government body committed to the cause of self- regulation in advertising ensuring the protection of the interest of consumers. Talking about the Hero TVC, it shows the Indian skipper riding the bike quite enthusiastically to a point where it becomes rash riding. Despite featuring the usual “performed by professionals” warning, the ad shows Kohli engage in some rather dangerous moves on the bike. This includes racing on the road, pedestrian safety ignorance along with a sequence where Kolhi is seen accelerating through the gap in between two trucks running parallel to each other.
The advertisement is in clear violation of ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising. The reason for this is that the advertisers did not provide any evidence to show that the celebrities did due diligence prior to lending their name for the endorsements, to ensure that all description, claims and comparisons made in the advertisement are capable of substantiation. In addition, the ad portrays violation of traffic rules, shows dangerous practices and manifests a disregard for safety. The advertisement showed speed manoeuvrability in a manner which encourages unsafe or reckless driving which could harm the driver and general public. The TVC contravened Chapter III.3 of the ASCI Code and Clauses (a) (b) and (c) of the ASCI Guidelines for Advertisements depicting Automotive Vehicles.
While it may be true that Hero did not want to promote any ill information regarding motorcycle riding, it still can influence a lot of its viewers in a negative way. This is strengthened by the presence of Virat Kohli in the ad, who is a popular influencer. The Indian Skipper boasts about 30 million followers on Instagram alone which shows his popularity. In general, ads are supposed to be made keeping in mind their target audience and the adverse effects of the advertisement on its viewers, if any.
It now remains to be seen what action is taken on this issue and whether Hero will issue a public apology over the same or not. As a side note, we recommend all our readers to not follow what is shown in ads blindly and to not indulge in any unsafe riding or driving practices.