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Advertising Rights Digest - Arm yourself with knowledge

Published on 12 May 2011

Some Fuddy-duddies Really Have Nothing to Do
10 Mar 2010

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There are many nosy parkers about who have nothing to do, so to pass the time they lay a complaint at ASA about some ad somewhere that gripes them. Is it really the function of ASA to listen to a host of claptrap and rule upon it? Here are some of the most ridiculous examples that were heard in a single day.

2 March 2010

A consumer lodged a complaint against a Nedbank television commercial which opens with a smiling baby being tossed in the air with adult hands within reach to catch it as it bounces back. The wording "MAKE THINGS HAPPEN"� and "NEDBANK"� appear at the end of the commercial. The complainant submitted was that the commercial is irresponsible by depicting an inappropriate and unsafe practice of tossing a young child into the air.

Strangely Nedbank undertook to withdraw the ad without giving any reason. Consequently, the ASA did not have to rule on the matter. Question is: Why did Nedbank surrender so easily?

A consumer lodged a complaint against MTN's internet advertisement that depicts local data bundles and its cost on one page and roaming rates and its costs on another page. The complainant submitted that the manner in which the advertisement is communicated may lead to misunderstanding which in turn may lead to excessive charges because the local rates are quoted as a cost per MB while international rates are quoted as cost per 25 kb, which is 40 times less than the local data unit.

Complaint dismissed

A consumer complained against an ABSA radio commercial that states "You know how exciting it is to find a R20 note in a jacket you wore a few years ago? Now imagine how fantastic it would have been if you had put the same note in an ABSA Savings Account. Thanks to the power of compound interest, you could be looking at a whole lot more. Ask us about our many savings solutions like Money Builder, where you can start saving with as little as R20...."�. The commercial was flighted on 5FM on Thursday, 29 October 2009.

The complainant is of the opinion that the commercial is misleading as ABSA fails to mention that it charges cash handling and monthly fees for administration purpose, which would have depleted the R20 within two to three months.

Complaint dismissed.

A consumer lodged a complaint against Wimpy menu available in its stores. The menu depicts, inter alia, a "Wimpy Burger with Bacon, Cheese, Hashbrown & Chips"�. The words, "Remove the meat for a vegetarian option"� appears on the top right corner of the photograph of the burger. The complainant submitted that the photograph on the Wimpy menu clearly displays fried onions as part of the recipe and, as the only place available for frying onions is where the meat is cooked, clearly by only removing the meat this will not result in a vegetarian friendly option.

Complaint dismissed.

A consumer lodged a complaint against the packaging of Pampers Sleep & Play.
The packaging states, inter alia, "+33% more diapers"�. Just below this it states, "compared to Sleep & Play 42 units pack"�. The packaging also indicates that the pack contains 58 "JUNIOR"� diapers for babies weighing between 11 kg and 25 kg. The complainant submitted, in essence, that the claim "+33% more diapers"� is misleading because one would assume that the advertised "33% more"� is for the package/product you are purchasing. However, the fine print indicates that it is 33% more diapers than the smaller package which contains 42 units.

Complaint dismissed.

A consumer lodged a complaint against an advertisement that was featured in the Yellow Pages for All Call Repairs. The advertisement states, inter alia, the following:

"24 HOUR
Repairs done on your premises..."�

In essence, the complainant submitted that the advertisement was misleading as she was informed by the respondent that they do attend to emergencies 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, but do not work in the evenings.

Because it was a service-related issue, the ASA ruled that it has no jurisdiction to hear the matter.


The point is that the industry funds the ASA and these costs are constantly increasing. The money should be spent wiser. A consumer complaint is free of charge, but any other complaint attracts a R15 000 non-refundable deposit. Shouldn't the ASA introduce a deposit system for consumers as well? But they should be careful, because some fuddy-duddy may just come up with a complaint against such a decision!

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