Vodafone punished by watchdog over misleading advert

Mobile & tablets

by Amy-jo Crowley| 13 August 2014

The ad must not appear again in its current form.

An advert by Vodafone has been banned by the Advertising Watchdog following complaints from rival Telefonica that the ad misleadingly implied that 77% of the emergency services employees used the mobile operator's service away from work.

The TV ad, by Grey London, had shown a firefighter's wife leaving a voicemail before a statement from the mobile operator said: "We are honoured 77% of the emergency services uses Vodafone."

Telefonica complained that Vodafone had falsely suggested that the majority of the emergency services staff, including police, doctors and nurses, used Vodafone in their personal - not professional - lives, and that the basis of the claim was unclear.

The Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) ruled that a voicemail from a fireman's wife is likely to be sent using a personal phone, as opposed to a phone provided by an employer.

It added: 'We told Vodafone to ensure they did not misleadingly state or imply that 77% of emergency services employees used Vodafone in a personal capacity and made the basis of their claims clearer in future,'

Vodafone said it used data from market intelligence firm Kable to create a clear definition of emergency services. It then calculated from its billing system that it had charged 77% of the workers for a range of services.

The ASA said the ad must not appear again in its current form.

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