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Medium: Internet (Company Website), Outdoor
Codes:ASAI Code 6th Edition: 1.6(c), 2.9, 2.22, 2.24
The advertisement featured a picture of a pig sitting on the grass with a cracked mobile phone at his trotters, the caption read:
“Whatever the reason get a new phone with Upgrade Anytime .
Power to you.”
The small print provided in the footnote read as follows:
“Available to eligible Vodafone RED customers, with minimum 3 months of contract paid in full. Price of upgrade handset will vary. New 24 month contract must be equal or higher than current plan. See Vodafone.ie for terms.”
Three Ireland (Hutchison) Limited considered that the advertisement was likely to mislead consumers. They said that the reference to “Upgrade Anytime” implied that consumers could upgrade their phone anytime they chose to and this was not the case. They said that the small print in the outdoor poster contradicted the main headline offer by indicating that customers had to have completed three months of their contract before they qualified to upgrade their phone. They said that the terms and conditions provided by Vodafone on their website concurred with the small print outlined in the poster.
The advertisers said that it was correct to say that a customer could not upgrade their phone for the first three months of their contract. They said that they had, however, referenced this clearly in their terms and conditions in all media, as well as fully explaining it on their website.
The advertisers said that they did not agree with Three’s assertion that consumers would be misled by their use of the term ‘anytime’ as they had made it clear in all their marketing communications that that the three months qualification criterion applied.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They considered that the claim that customers could upgrade ‘anytime’ to be an absolute claim, which could mislead consumers. The Committee upheld the complaint under Sections 2.9, 2.22 and 2.24 of the Code.
The advertisement should not be used in its current format again.