Tom Hardy might have played the indestructible Spitfire pilot in the blockbuster Dunkirk but his appearance in Sky Mobile’s “free upgrade” TV ad has been sunk without trace after being shot down by the watchdog for misleading customers.
The commercial, “Smart mobile swap shop”, was one of three starring the actor and features a downbeaten-looking Hardy walking along a coastal path.
The voiceover stated: “Things can look tired a year on from when you bought them. Like your phone. Once it was the hot, new model. Not anymore. That’s when you realise you’ve still got a year on your contract. That’s a long way to go.
“But new Sky Mobile lets you swap your old phone for the latest one every 12 months free of charge. So, say hello to a shiny new phone every year with Sky Mobile. Sky. Believe in better.”
But two viewers took umbrage at the ad, insisting the claim that they could get a new phone “free of charge” was a nonsense, triggering an investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority.
In response, Sky claimed the offer meant customers who bought a phone under a 24-month repayment term could choose to trade in their phone for a new one after their 12th monthly payment, and that, so long as the phone was in full working order and no market value adjustment applied, the price it paid the customer would pay off the balance of the customer’s loan.
The deal requires customers to take out a new 24-month repayment plan for their new phone, which Sky pointed out was detailed in on-screen text.
However, the ASA was having none of it. It ruled that the on-screen text specifying the terms of the deal was neither prominent enough, nor featured clear enough phrasing and slapped it with a ban on three counts: misleading advertising, qualification and “free” claims.
Even so, when the regulator warned Sky that the ad must not appear again it its current form, the company claimed there were no plans to rerun it anyway. So there…
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