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ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 15.1(b), 15.1(c), 15.2, 15.3
The advertisement opened with a skateboarder jumping over a lone flower growing in the middle of a skateboard park. They stopped skateboarding to take a close-up photograph of the flower and sent the image in a message. In another location, a man is shown taking his phone from his pocket after receiving the photograph of the flower. The man is then shown skateboarding to a traffic light where a bird has made a nest and he proceeds to take a photograph of the nest. He sends this photograph back in reply to the first skateboarder. The advertisement then features the skateboarders meeting up and interacting with the nature around them and showing the photographs they have taken with the featured phone.
The voiceover of the advertisement makes the following statement:
“When you see nature like this, you'll want to protect it. Capture incredible detail on the new iPhone 14 pro and share on Europe's largest network powered by 100% renewable energy.”
On screen text at the end of the advertisement stated:
“The new iPhone 14 Pro. On Europe’s largest network powered by 100% renewable energy.”
An on-screen footnote at the beginning of the advertisement included the following statement:
“100% of the grid electricity that Vodafone uses in its European network is certified to be from renewable energy sources like wind, solar or wave.”
The complainant considered that the advertisement was misleading as it implied that using a device that relied on rare earth minerals (a smartphone) would somehow help nature when in fact the consumption of such devices was destroying nature.
The advertisers responded to the issue raised by the complainant.
The advertisers said that the advertisement had stated that when you could see nature like it was being captured by the featured phone, you would want to protect it. They said that their intent was to communicate to consumers that the camera on the device was capable of capturing images of nature in a way that enabled the viewer to observe and appreciate nature, which could then inspire people to take better care of nature. They said that they had not stated nor alluded to any claim that the phone featured would specifically help nature or result in any environmental benefit.
In response to the reference to rare earth minerals used in the manufacture of smartphones, they said that they recognised that the extraction of raw materials had a negative environmental impact and that they were working to reduce this impact by increasing the circularity of their mobile devices, through initiatives such as trade-in. They said that this facility enables customers from any network bring a used phone for refurbishment and re-sale or responsible recycling and that academic research indicated that purchasing a refurbished smartphone removed the need to extract 76.9kg of raw materials.
Complaint Not Upheld
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
The Committee noted the advertisement had featured people taking photographs of nature and had stated that viewing nature would inspire someone to protect it. While the Committee noted that the complainant considered the advertisement had claimed that using the phone would help nature, they accepted that the advertisement had not included any direct claim that the phone featured would help nature or result in an environmental benefit. The Committee considered that consumers understanding would be that users’ appreciation of nature might be enhanced by viewing the ‘incredible detail’ captured by the phone’s camera. In the circumstances, the Committee did not consider that the advertisement was in breach of the Code on the grounds raised.
No further action required