These reports are case summaries of complaints which appeared to raise issues of substance in relation to the interpretation of the ITC Advertising Standards Code. Summary statistics of non-substantive complaints can be found in the full reports which are obtainable from the ITC.
Hutchison 3 Mobile
Complaint from: 5 viewers
Advertising for Hutchison 3 showed people using its mobile phones to make video calls, send video messages and watch video clips of goals from Premiership matches.
Viewers complained that in their experience the video sequences shown in the advertisement were of a higher quality than the service was able to achieve.
Hutchison explained that a camera shot of the working handset would not give an accurate impression of the picture quality because the picture resolution would be lost in the process of scaling up the image for broadcast on television or cinema screen. It therefore used a dummy shot in the advertising.
Hutchison stated that factors affecting the quality of the picture included phone settings, lighting and movement of the handset and or of the person on screen. In the advertising the handset was held still and was used in the best lighting to show the optimum performance achievable. It stressed that there was no intention to misrepresent the quality of the handsetís video calling and video messaging services.
The ITC asked for a demonstration of the phones in addition to asking for samples which staff used to try to replicate the images which appeared in the commercials. The phones were used outside and in an office with fluorescent overhead lighting - similar to the settings used in the advertising. The testing and demonstration showed that:
1 Downloaded video clips
The ITC judged that there was no significant difference between the quality of the advertised downloaded video clips shown in the advertisement and what could be achieved using the phone itself. It did not uphold this aspect of the complaint.
2 Video calling
Compared with the commercial, the sound and video image were disjointed, and subject to breaking up. The colour was washed out and low in contrast and picture definition was not as clear as in the commercial.
3 Video messaging
The product delivered high quality images in this mode, but the picture definition was less than the advertising indicated.
The ITC pointed out that the advertisement featuring the Premiership goal had not shown the tool bars that feature on the actual handset screen. Hutchison explained that toolbars had been added to all subsequent advertising in order to offer a more realistic impression of this feature.
The ITC accepts that technical constraints sometimes made it necessary to superimpose dummy images on to products for advertising purposes, and that advertisers are entitled to show their products performing at their best. However, advertising should not give a misleading or unfair impression of the capabilities of a product.
Hutchison said that it had downgraded the images used in the advertising to 15 frames per second, the same frame rate as that delivered by the phone itself. The ITC found that the actual frame rate for video calling and messaging was 6 frames per second. It pointed out, however, that what matters is not technical details of this kind but the overall impression given to viewers.
The ITC considered that the advertising for both video calling and video messaging showed a quality of picture that was superior to what the handset was able to deliver in tests. It was therefore misleading and should not be shown again in its current form.
Complaints upheld. Breach of ITC Code Rule 5.4.1.