The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has cracked down on an independent mobile phone vendor for sending out abusive text messages for a marketing campaign. Welsh-based Phonetastic was advertising for consumers to upgrade their phones.
Phonetastic’s method however, was perhaps not the most diplomatic. The text message sent to consumers read, You are a dick and I am going to kick your head in ya big useless donkey. UPGRADE UR MOB 0800 0859362.
The ASA, the independent, self-regulatory body for non-broadcast advertisements in the UK, believed that most British consumers would find the SMS offensive. The authority administers the British Codes of Advertising to ensure that adverts are legal, decent, honest and truthful.
More than likely, Phonetastic’s marketing prank would have failed on the grounds of indecency – but the company lost the case by default, after refusing to submit evidence to the hearing. The ASA told the company never to send such texts again, and warned media outlets to be wary of accepting their ads.