The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) has scolded Vodacom over a television commercial advertising its R10 Airtime Advance service.
A consumer complained to the ASA that the commercial doesn’t mention that a R1 service fee is charged when using Airtime Advance.
In a ruling of the ASA directorate published on the organisation’s website, the ASA said that the ad displays the following text on screen:
“Get R10 Airtime Advance when you need it most.
Dial *111# to see if you qualify”.
Below this it states:
“T&Cs apply. Service fee of R1,00 will be charged.”
This is in a substantially smaller font, the ASA remarked.
According to the ruling, the advertising agency Draft FCB responded on behalf of Vodacom, saying that the complaint is factually incorrect as the commercial does contain a disclaimer.
Draft FCB went on to say that the commercial has been removed from air anyway after requesting an opinion about the ad from the Association for Communication and Advertising (ACA) Advisory Service.
Once the commercial has been reworked it will be submitted to the ACA Advisory Service again before flighting, the agency said.
In its response to Vodacom the ASA accepted the undertaking to withdraw and amend the advertisement, but pointed out that it received a similar complaint on 2 August 2011.
“This is now the second instance where a complaint was raised about the respondent’s commercial on the basis that it did not adequately inform people of this material condition,” the ASA directorate said.
As a “large and experienced advertiser” that is well versed in the advertising code, Vodacom will be aware that it is not acceptable to rely on disclaimers to correct a misleading impression created, the ASA said.
“Care needs to be taken to ensure that the voice-over, visual claims and on-screen text do not conflict or omit material information.”