But Vodacom has already hit back, filing a complaint against its smaller rival at the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), accusing Cell C of “disparaging” its brand and products.
A television ad in the new Cell C campaign, featuring its “chief experience officer”, comedian Trevor Noah, derides Vodacom’s brand changes as superficial and claiming to have the country’s best network.
In the ad, Noah walks alongside an old sports car, half spray-painted in red. “Recently, a 17-year-old cell network changes their colours. Nice, but what’s actually under the hood?”
Noah is seen walking up to a new, black Ferrari. “It takes more than a lick of paint to be SA’s number one network, don’t you think?”
Then, on Sunday, Cell C ran prominent newspaper advertisements again taking aim at Vodacom. “Who’s the leader now?” screams the headline. “It seems a major cell network may have stopped calling themselves leading. Perhaps they learnt about Cell C’s leading and completely new HSPA+900 network.”
The ads have angered Vodacom, which has lodged a detailed complaint against Cell C with the ASA.
The Cell C television ad that’s angered Vodacom:
ASA communications manager Corné Koch confirms that the authority received a complaint from Vodacom on Friday. “The main complaint from Vodacom is that Cell C is disparaging the Vodacom brand and its products,” Koch says. “Further, [it wants] Cell C [to] substantiate the claims of being the superior network in the SA industry.”
Koch says the ASA will investigate the matter.
Comparative advertising in SA is tightly regulated under ASA rules. The authority has had to field a growing number of complaints from cellular operators in recent months, especially complaints involving Cell C and Vodacom. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral