Oftel slams BT’s 118 advertising campaign

BT has been forced to amend its press campaign for its directory enquiries service 118 500, following complaints by the telecoms watchdog Oftel that it misleadingly implies the ad is an announcement by a public authority.

Oftel and BT rival Centrica objected to the campaign, which was headlined “Public Notice”, and the complaint has been upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). BT has been asked to seek advice from the CAP Copy Advice Team. The ASA has not, however, upheld the objection that the ad misleadingly suggests that 192 directory enquiries would be replaced by only one new service – BT’s 118 500 and not a range of services.

Separately, picture messaging phone company Sharp Corporation has also been censored by the advertising watchdog, over exaggerating the quality of the picture that the phone could achieve in its press campaign. The ad used a simulated picture, which was produced using a photograph of a woman superimposed onto the picture of the product.

The campaign was created by Hakuhodo, the Japanese agency which late last year acquired a 49 per cent stake in London-based ad agency Mustoes (MW December 12, 2002).

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