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Vodafone Ad Banned for Misleading “unbeatable” Call Reliability Claim

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015 (9:03 am) - Score 578

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned a national press and website advert for Vodafone’s mobile network after Three UK complained that the promotions could not substantiate the claims of being “unbeatable at connecting your calls” and “unbeatable at keeping your calls connected“.

Apparently the claims were based on Vodafone’s own call performance data as well as that of data from Three UK, O2 and EE, which had been collected by Ofcom (Consumer experiences of mobile phone calls). But the ASA disagreed with Vodafone’s interpretation and banned both adverts for being “misleading“.

ASA Ruling (REF: A14-288262)

Ad (a) was a national press ad that referred to the UK’s transplant list and that those on the transplant list never went “anywhere” without their phones. Ad (b), which appeared on the Vodafone website, referred to how they were investing in their network ensuring it was “… suitable for … the everyday services people rely on up and down the country”. In that context, we considered consumers were likely to interpret the claims as referring to Vodafone’s performance across the UK, despite the qualification given in the ads.

Given that large geographical areas of the UK were omitted from the sample, we considered it was insufficiently widespread to be considered a true representation of UK consumers’ experience of call connection and dropped calls. Furthermore, because we considered the ads created the overall impression that the claims related to Vodafone’s performance across the UK, we considered the qualification contradicted rather than clarified the ads.

For the reasons given above, we considered Vodafone’s substantiation was insufficient to support their top parity claims. We therefore concluded the ads had not been substantiated and were misleading.

As usual the ASA warned Vodafone not to make such claims again unless they held “suitable substantiation“.

Leave a Comment
1 Response
  1. Should they not also ban ‘Super-Fast’, ‘Ultra-Fast’ as being fundamentally at odds with the special law of relativity? Photons and Electrons are not going any faster. There must be someone capable of expressing this in a way that does not routinely contradict Faraday, Clerk Maxwell and Einstein.

    I guess using’unbeatable’ is even lazier than using ‘Super-Fast’. If the ASA are on a roll, perhaps they could have a go!

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