Advertisers in India have locked horns with rivals through ad campaigns several times in the recent past. In January, Honda Siel Cars India Ltd, or HSCI, served a legal notice on Maruti Suzuki India Ltd for a print ad comparing its Honda City model with the latter’s SX4. According to HSCI, Maruti had used incorrect data to show the SX4 as a better car.
Paras Pharmaceuticals Ltd, which markets Zatak deodorants, last year came up with an ad showing a man frantically waving two Axe bottles (a deodorant brand of Hindustan Unilever Ltd) while pretty women walk right past him and into the arms of a “very, very sexy Set Wet Zatak man”.
Last year, Marico Ltd took Dabur India Ltd to court for allegedly disparaging Marico’s coconut hair oil brand Parachute through its ad for Vatika enriched coconut hair oil. But Dabur said it was highlighting the superiority of its product and not disparaging a rival brand, an argument the Calcutta high court accepted.
Raymond Ltd complained to the Advertising Standards Council of India last year, taking exception to Metro Shoes Ltd’s The Incomplete Man ad, a play on its tag line—The Complete Man. The council, however, turned down its plea.
In 2007, Wipro Ltd got a restraining court order on the Godrej Consumer Products Ltd ad which claimed Godrej No. 1’s leadership over rival soap brands. In turn, Godrej took Wipro to court for advertising its liquid detergent brand Wipro Safewash as superior to Godrej’s Ezee and got an order in its favour.