Vodafone complaint upheld, on “unlimited” ad

June 15, 2008

The ASA have upheld a complaint about a Vodafone advert which according to the ASA implied unlimited mobile internet.

The advert said “Any website, any time. £7.50 a month. Make the most of now.” It was only in the small print at the bottom of the advert which said that there was in fact a 120MB limit!

The ASA said

However, we considered that consumers would also infer from the headline claim that they could access the internet as often as they liked for £7.50 a month.

We noted there was a disclaimer stating “120MB UK data allowance per month” at the bottom of the ad, but considered that this was not prominent enough to avoid being overlooked and also that it contradicted the impression created by the headline claim. We considered that the download allowance was a significant condition attached to the service and was likely to influence consumers’ decisions about whether to purchase the product. Because that information was not stated in, or immediately next to, the headline claim, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead about the nature of the service being offered.

I have to agree with the ASA, the implication of the advert was any time, any where, when ever you wanted. However a 120MB download limit in this era of photographs, YouTube’esque video, audio podcasts and other media-rich internet means that 120Mb (even on a phone) would not really be sufficient for a month, and I suspect a lot of users would go over this limit and then be hit with high charges.

When marketing new goods and services to customers you need to ensure that not only do you upsell the benefits and features of  your product, but that you do not breach ASA codes on advertising, by “hiding” or “misleading” consumers on the full details of the product.

The role of the ASA and other regulatory bodies is to ensure that companies do not breach either legal regulations or voluntary codes when operating in the business environment.

Full adjudication.

Advertisements