Vodacom red-faced after ad
Cellphone network provider Cell C has won its legal tug-of-war with "older" foe Vodacom - the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that a Trevor Noah advert for Cell C flighted earlier this year did not disparage Vodacom's "blue-to-red" advertising campaign.
Not long after Vodacom changed its corporate colour from blue to red - bringing it into line with its parent company, the UK's Vodafone - Cell C released an ad in which comedian Noah takes jabs at the rebranding.
Vodacom filed a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority, claiming the ad had discredited it "either directly or indirectly" and that the "intent" was to "disparage Vodacom and to dilute" brand awareness.
In the ad, a suited Noah walks past a blue 1994 Nissan Skyline sedan that has been partially spray-painted red and arrogantly tells viewers: "Recently, a 17-year-old cell network changed their colours. Nice. But what's actually under the hood?
"The engine that drives Cell C is its leading and completely new HSPA+ 900MHz network, voted best in the country."
While standing next to a sleek black Ferrari - representing Cell C - Noah then snipes: "Because it takes more than a lick of paint to be SA's No1 network, don't you think?"
The authority initially ruled in Vodacom's favour .
Cell C appealed against the ruling, saying the 1994 Nissan Skyline - the year Vodacom was established - was at the time a "popular, fast and well-received car".
It humorously claimed it was in fact acknowledging "the excellent brand Vodacom launched in 1994".
Vodacom, however, argued that the car was not a 1994 model.
In its ruling upholding Cell C's appeal, the authority said : "On the merits, we, however, do not believe that Vodacom has established that Cell C's commercial disparages its advertising campaign."