Orcon's Dotcom ad deemed 'misleading'

By Patrice Dougan

Orcon says sales jumped 70 per cent after an ad campaign fronted by Kim Dotcom. Photo / Richard Robinson
Orcon says sales jumped 70 per cent after an ad campaign fronted by Kim Dotcom. Photo / Richard Robinson

An advert featuring Kim Dotcom offering "truly unlimited broadband" has been deemed misleading by the advertising watchdog, which has also reprimanded Westpac bank and a foul-mouthed music poster.

The Orcon ad, which is part of a campaign parodying poverty adverts and has also been at the centre of other complaints to the authority, was criticised for promoting "truly unlimited fast broadband" when the company can charge customers for using excess data.

The Advertising Standards Authority's (ASA) complaints board said there was a high level of ambiguity about the ad, saying Orcon's Fair Use policy which charges for excessive data use "contradicted the claim of offering truly unlimited broadband"'.

The majority of the board ruled the ad was "likely to deceive or mislead the consumer" and was in breach of advertising rules.

The authority also upheld a complaint against a Westpac radio ad, claiming it was the "only major bank" offering a Welcome Home Loan, despite Kiwibank also offering the same loan.

The complainant said Kiwibank was also a major bank, and the commercial was prejudiced and "misleading ... toward Kiwibank and their customers".

Despite some members of the board arguing that Kiwibank was not a major player in the industry, with its own advertising campaigns "placing them as an underdog", the majority of the ASA ruled it was misleading to consumers.

Orcon has appealed the decision by the ASA, over what it described as a "small technicality'' in its advertising campaign.

In a statement chief executive Greg McAlister said, while it is a good thing the ASA is ensuring the industry is delivering what it promises, the company stands by its uncapped plans.

"While we have had unnoticeably small traffic shaping on peer-to-peer downloads in the past, there are now no implemented restrictions whatsoever on our unlimited plans so on those grounds we have appealed the ASA's decision,'' he said.

"Last week we even scrapped our Fair Use policy, which we had never enforced anyway.''

He said some residential customers use as much as nine terabytes a month.

Meanwhile a billboard for a Robert de Long concert, which stated, "Did I make you f*cking dance?", among the text was deemed likely to cause serious and widespread offence.

The use of the word "f*cking" was deemed unacceptable and "was not saved by the use of the asterisk", the ASA said.

A Lady Gaga bus advert, featuring the singer holding her breasts and with a large ball between her legs, was ruled acceptable.

Complaints about the Artpop album ad, which used imagery from the album cover, said it was "indecent and offensive" and its placement on a bus would mean it would be seen by children.

However, the ASA ruled that while it was provocative, because there was no nudity and nothing in the image it considered graphic, it did not meet the threshold to offend against prevailing community standards.

It also said despite its appearance on a bus, there had only been two complaints, which did not constitute widespread offence.

- APNZ

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