Vodacom reprimanded for misleading ‘split data’ advertising

The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) has ruled against Vodacom for advertising data packages where only “half of the data volume quoted is available” at all times.

Vodacom’s print advert promoting its Internet data packages, with packages between 4GB and 40GB, was at the centre of an ASA complaint.

The complainant highlighted that only half of the data volume quoted is available at all times.

The rest of the data is only available between midnight and 05h00 (Night Owl data), which the complainant argued is misleading and dishonest.

Vodacom explains

Vodacom responded, saying “the takeout of an advertisement must be considered as a whole”.

The complaint only refers to page 39 of a booklet, whereas this page cannot be divorced from the preceding and adjacent page, namely page 38, said Vodacom.

Vodacom said that a table which defines the data package allocations appears at the top of page 38, and the definition of the data allowances is stated.

ASA not convinced

The ASA was not convinced, however, saying there is no heading or wording in Vodacom’s advertising which explains that its data package breakdown now applies to everything that follows.

“The table simply appears at the top of the page, with no context,” said the ASA.

“The words ‘Night Owl’ do not appear anywhere on any of the packages that follow, drawing attention to the fact that this is a Night Owl offer.”

“There are no asterisks linking the table with any of the offers, drawing the customer’s attention to the fact that this data breakdown applies to all packages.”

The ASA subsequently ruled against Vodacom’s advertising, and ordered the operator to withdraw it in its current format.

Read: ASA dismisses Vodacom data ‘false advertising’ complaint

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Vodacom reprimanded for misleading ‘split data’ advertising