A lit­tle tale

Finweek English Edition - - Advertising & marketing -

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.

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