Vodafone Television Advertisement
26 September 2007
Complainant: R. Oatham
Advertisement: Vodafone New Zealand Ltd
Complaint: The television advertisement for Vodafone's "BEST EVER TXTER PLAN" contained cartoon style images of people sending and receiving text messages. The voice-over commenced with: "Isn't it great to be a texter" and gave various examples of why that was so, including gossiping with your girlfriend in the library, eating a "stinky" sardine sandwich while flirting with your girlfriend, and breaking up with your boyfriend "without having to listen to him cry". An image shows the recipient of the latter message sobbing in an exaggerated manner.
Complainant, R. Oatham, was of the view that the example of texting to end a relationship was not socially responsible, and was teaching the younger generation bad ethics, particularly as it could contribute to the behaviour of "text abuse" which had in some cases prompted recipients to take their own lives.
The relevant provision was the Code of Ethics, Basic Principle 4.
The Chairman noted R. Oatham's sincerely held concern. However, looking at the bright and breezy light-hearted advertisement, he was of the view that the behaviour shown did not reach the threshold to be said to have the sinister implications suggested by the Complainant. As such the Chairman was of the view that the advertisement had been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and to society and there was no apparent breach of the Code of Ethics.
The Chairman ruled there were no grounds for the complaint to proceed.
Chairman's Ruling: Complaint No Grounds to Proceed