A little tale
AFTER BEING BANNED by the Advertising Standards Authority, KingJames’s spoof commercial for budget airline kulula. com has been awarded TV Ad of the Month for December by the Creative Circle.
The kulula ad was a parody of a Cell C campaign that showed the joy of a group of cellphone numbers, represented by little people with numbers on their backs, when they discover that they can go with their owner when he boards a different airline network. “Change your network, not your number,” runs the pay-off line for a campaign designed to encourage people to switch from other mobile phone networks to Cell C.
Ad “imitates and exploits goodwill”.
In the kulula ad a similar group of numbered vertically challenged people is waiting in a queue to board an aircraft. In an adjacent queue, a normal-sized male passenger commiserates with them that they can’t join him on a kulula flight, which offers “more legroom, quicker queues”.
But Cell C wasn’t amused and complained to the ASA, which ruled that the kulula ad might be damaging to the original Cell C campaign. The gist of Cell C’s complaint was that the kulula ad “imitates and exploits the goodwill of its creative concept” and that the offending commercial’s intention was not to amuse.
KingJames argued that the ad was simply a light-hearted, humorous use of cur- rent advertising images, wasn’t intended to denigrate and that the two companies don’t compete against each other.
“Our only intention was to get the kulula. com ad spoken about among consumers,” says KingJames client service director Melanie Whitfield. “We believe we managed that with this mini campaign.”
But the ASA agreed that the deliberate use of Cell C’s concept “is likely to dilute its advertising value” and that – as the little people are no longer associated solely with Cell C – their value to it is lessened. Kulula was forced to withdraw the ad.