Telco service provider, Vodafone New Zealand, has made a number of amendments to its SuperNet advertising after one of its competitors in the region, Telecom, commenced high court proceedings in respect of certain aspects of the campaign.
As a result of the changes, Telecom has withdrawn its formal court proceedings and has referred the matter to the commerce commission.
In a formal response to the proceedings filed on August 12, Vodafone confirmed that several aspects of the campaign have ceased and that qualifying statements have been added to the advertising. Some of the changes made include:
- In its online/YouTube advertisement explaining the overall SuperNet concept, Vodafone has removed the word ‘fastest’, and has also included appropriately prominent disclaimers which note that “4G is live in parts of New Zealand. A qualifying plan and capable device are required” and “Vodafone Ultra-Fast Broadband is available on our cable network in parts of Wellington, Christchurch and Kapiti and coming to more places around NZ".
- All executions as a part of its SuperNet campaign that rely on its cable network have been removed from areas outside its current cable network coverage.
- The television advertisements have ceased.
- In relation to the ‘Unleash your Mobile’ advertisement for the 4G service, suitably prominent qualifiers of "4G is live in parts of New Zealand" and "a qualifying plan and capable device are required" have been added.
- Billboards concerning HD video and gaming on 4G are no longer being used.
- Vodafone no longer intends to use a ‘long form’ advertisement that was distributed in a range of New Zealand newspapers.
Vodafone New Zealand said, in a statement, that the absence of these qualifiers was an ‘oversight’, despite the fact it had refused to add them weeks earlier when this was pointed out by Telecom.
Telecom retail CEO, Chris Quin, said the company was seeking an interim injunction in proceedings that required Vodafone to change certain aspects of the campaign on the basis that it breached the Fair Trading Act 1986.
“In our view they were misleading and likely to deceive consumers. Given the changes now made, we have achieved this immediate objective.
“However, Vodafone’s actions in this campaign raise serious concerns under the Fair Trading Act. We have lodged a complaint with the Commerce Commission and will continue to pursue that complaint with urgency,” he said.