If you didn't hear the disclaimer on that ad the last time you saw it because it was delivered at a faster pace, you are probably not alone. But in an interesting development for Vodafone in UK, one that might be of interest to brands in India, the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority), UK has upheld a complaint against a radio spot for Vodafone, on the grounds that the disclaimer at the end was delivered at a high speed and was therefore misleading to listeners.
The spot features a man talking like a weather forecaster, who says, "Now the weather. It's going to be another glorious sunny summer's day today. Beautiful sunshine in every part of the British Isles and this sunny spell's expected to last, well, for ever. With Vodafone's Endless Summer you can now get unlimited texts, calls, e-mail and mobile internet with our scorching new price plans, so you'll never be burnt by your bill again. Visit us in store. Vodafone - make the most of now."
The spot ends with a woman's voice in a faster pace saying, "Subject to status, availability and connection to 18-month contract. Unlimited calls to landlines or Vodafone Mobiles only. Fair-use policy, terms and 60-minute call cap applies." A website address follows. The spot has been created by BBH.
On its part, Vodafone argued that it was acceptable to summarise the disclaimer this way and that it was not speeded up in post-production but delivered in the woman's natural voice.
The ASA was of the view that the terms and conditions, which included that the offer applied to calls to landlines and Vodafone mobile numbers only and that a fair use policy and 60-minute call cap applied, were significant clarifications of the "unlimited" offer and needed to be clear to listeners. The ASA concluded that, because they were delivered too quickly, the important terms and conditions were not clearly audible and the ad could mislead listeners.
In India, disclaimers usually seen in the financial services, telecom and airline categories are often delivered at a fast pace, faster than the rest of the commercial. Can we see similar issues cropping up in India? ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India), the industry's advertising standards body, will act on any issues only on the basis of complaints filed. Perhaps the Indian consumer can decode fast delivered dialogues better than the UK consumer.