Carphone Warehouse Has Been Told Off for a Radio Advert That Forgets Three Exists

By Tom Pritchard on at

You need to be careful when you're advertising, because some people aren't too bright and need things spelled out to them. You also need to be careful not to withhold information that makes you look better than you are, which is what Carphone Warehouse did with one of its radio adverts.

Back in July Carphone Warehouse did an ad campaign promising that customers could save up to £152 if they avoided the retailer's major competitors. Most of those adverts clarified that 'major competitors' meant EE, O2, and Vodafone. The radio ad did not, possibly because someone forgot Three exists. The Advertising Standards Agency wasn't too happy about that.

Instead of owning up to the error Carphone insisted that Three isn't actually a major competitor, because it doesn't have enough customers to count. It also said Three's inclusion in the comparison didn't change the outcome in 'any meaningful way', and that the 20 second run time meant time constraints had to be considered.

The ASA upheld the complaint, however, since the fact Three runs its own network infrastructure means it did count as a major competitor. Even if it only has 9.2 million customers (10.3 million fewer than the next smallest network Vodafone).

Fortunately for Carphone Warehouse (and perhaps unfortunately for consumers) the ASA didn't actually punish the company in any way. The retailer was told it needed to stop using the advert, and that's about it. Way to lay down the law, ASA. [ASA via The Register]