ASA rejects Mercury ‘free call’ moans

Mercury One2One’s “Ring the World Free on Christmas Day” promotion has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority in its latest monthly report.

The promotion, which offered new One2One subscribers un-limited free calls anywhere in

the world on Christmas Day

1994, generated over 1,000 complaints to Mercury from consum-ers who claimed they were un-able to get a line (MW January 6).

The ASA received two complaints, but rejected them on the grounds that most of Mercury’s customers had been able to make calls, and that those who could not had been compensated. The ASA ruled Mercury “had made adequate provisions” and that the promotion was “acceptable”.

– Complaints about an ad from Air Miles featuring Peter Kerry – the boy who took his father’s passport and credit card and ran away to Malaysia after a family row – were upheld by the ASA.

The ad, which attracted 58 complaints, highlighted a Today newspaper story saying he had applied to join Air Miles, with the caption “Peter, we love your cheek”. The complainants said it glamourised criminal actions and could encourage other children to copy him. The ASA agreed that the approach used was “irresponsible”.

– A complaint about a Tesco’s ad promoting its own-label contact lens cleaning solution was also upheld. The ad claimed there was no difference between Tesco’s product and anybody else’s, which is not true. Tesco claimed that it meant its own brand product was of the same high quality as branded solutions; the ASA, however, ruled the ad misleading and asked Tesco to change it.