The UK advertising regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority, has criticised a campaign by wireless operator Virgin Mobile. The advert read “I will happily donate my kidneys whilst still alive,” alongside a check box.
Virgin intended to highlight the hidden clauses in other mobile operators’ contracts with the campaign, pointing out that its contract did not involve any contracts, minimum terms or onerous demands. However, the ASA ruled that the campaign might upset kidney patients, dissuade potential donors, and that it trivialized the medical profession.
Under the UK advertising rules, Virgin Mobile – a joint venture between Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile – will not face any fines or further action. It will, however, be banned from using this advert again.