The directorate of the Advertising Standards Authority has found in MTN’s favour in a complaint about advertisements by rival Cell C that the larger operator said were disparaging towards its brand. The campaign in question involves Cell C’s 99 Cents for Real radio and television ads.
MTN took exception to a Cell C radio ad in which it referred to the “yellow-bellied special of the day of the week bullhockey”. In its submission to the advertising authority, MTN argued that the Cell C ad was “intentionally directed at MTN with a deliberate intent to disparage”.
“This radio commercial, together with the commercials ruled against, are indicative of Cell C’s persistent bad-faith approach to advertising and is clear evidence of [its] flagrant disregard for the code [of advertising practice]. Should Cell C’s conduct not attract serious consequences, [it] will continue to target MTN and its products in its advertising and will continue to bring advertising into disrepute,” MTN said in its latest complaint.
The operator called on the advertising authority to impose sanctions on Cell C because of other complaints that have been lodged against Cell C in the past year. The authority found that because more than one adverse ruling had been made against Cell C in this period, it could demand that the company obtain “pre-clearance advice” from the Association for Communication and Advertising. However, because the previous complaints were not considered to revolve around the issue of disparagement, it opted to suspend this sanction.
Should Cell C have a complaint of disparagement successfully brought against it at the authority in the next six months, the regulatory body could impose the sanction.
MTN South Africa chief marketing officer Serame Taukobong says the operator is pleased with the “favourable” outcome. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media