ASA to decide on Vodacom, Cell C ad dispute

2011-04-15 08:41

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) was expected to draft its ruling on a dispute over advertising for cellphone service providers Vodacom and Cell C today.

Business Day newspaper reported that Vodacom complained to the ASA about Cell C’s current advertising campaign, which it regards as comparative advertising.

The complaint was lodged today, but was expedited because of the severity of the claims, according to ASA spokesperson Corne Koch.

Cell C’s latest campaign responds to Vodacom’s shedding of its blue and green colours for the red teardrop logo of its United Kingdom-based parent company Vodafone.

The publication reported that the position taken by Cell C was best summed up in an advertisement featuring comedian Trevor Noah as Cell C’s CEO, in which he said it took more than a “lick of paint to be SA’s number one”.

Vodafone is also asking its competitor to substantiate claims about Cell C having a superior network.

The dispute may go to court after Cell C’s advertising agency DDB SA and its employee Grant Jacobsen, received lawyers letters this week from Vodacom’s advertising firm, Draftfcb, warning that it was considering legal action.

Jacobsen, a senior member of the team who worked on Vodacom’s “red” campaign launched on April 1, left Draftfcb for DDBSA in December.

At the time, DDB SA did not have the Cell C account. Cell C launched its campaign on April 2.

Both Jacobsen and DDB SA have denied a breach of confidentiality and said information about the relaunch had been leaked to the market, especially with the change of the Ponte City Vodacom sign in Joburg. 

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