The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned an advert by Taiwanese electronics company HTC featuring Olympic diver Tom Daley, after it implied that one of its mobile phones could be used in swimming pools.
The ad sees Mr Daley using the HTC U11 to take selfies while diving from a board and landing in the swimming pool below, submerging the phone in the water.
But a complainant contacted the ASA after noting that while the instructions for the phone stated it was water resistant in fresh water, the ad misleadingly implied the product would also work in a pool with chlorinated water.
HTC Europe defended the advertisement, saying that, by landing feet first, Mr Daley was able to keep the U11 within the 1m depth required to remain within the phone’s capabilities.
It added that the handset could work in different liquid environments for various periods of time, but there were too many variations of water temperature and chemical composition to “provide a statement” that the U11 was compatible with most standard swimming pools.
Tom Daley HTC U11 ‘Extreme Selfie’ from Ben Walsh on Vimeo
The ASA banned the advert, stating: “While we acknowledged that a professional Olympic athlete such as Tom Daley would be able to dive from a 10-metre high diving board and keep within the 1m distance required, we considered it unlikely that a consumer attempting something similar would be able to avoid being submerged to a depth which did not exceed, even briefly, that measurement.
“Because consumers were likely to understand that the product could deliberately be submerged in a swimming pool and that no precautions were required to be taken after it had been immersed to preserve the product’s performance, and because that was not the case, we concluded that the ad exaggerated the capability of the product and was misleading.”
An HTC spokeswoman said: “We are disappointed by the ASA ruling, but have removed the video from our sites… we apologise if anyone felt misled as to the handset’s water resistant capabilities.”
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