Tom Daley’s ad for HTC gets him in hot water with the ASA

Olympic medalist Tom Daley has been caught doing something he shouldn’t. He’s been diving from a 10-metre board with an HTC phone in his hand and encouraging other people to do the same.

An eagle-eyed viewer complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that a smartphone – even one that boasts a “squeezable selfie” function – is unlikely to work after it’s been plunged into chlorinated water from a great height.

The viewer had been watching a Facebook film by agency Hope & Glory for Taiwanese consumer electronics company HTC, which shows Tom Daley taking a selfie as he executes a daredevil tumbling dive.

The on-screen text states, “Don’t try this stunt, Tom’s a professional.” Viewers might be forgiven for assuming that the text referred to the dangerous dive, but HTC claimed it was talking about taking selfies.

HTC also put forward a somewhat technical defence, claiming that, because Tom Daley went in feet first and was holding the phone above his head, the “water resistant” phone would have survived the stunt because it would not have been more than one metre underwater at any time.

The ASA didn’t buy it though, and suggested that a consumer attempting a similar dive to Tom’s would inevitably end up more than a metre underwater. Probably all the way at the bottom of the pool, until he or she was rescued by the emergency services.

Even HTC’s own instructions stated that the phone should not come into contact with swimming pools. Not surprising, then, that the ad has been banned for misleading consumers about the capabilities of the product.

It’s quite a nicely shot film, which makes it even more strange that nobody involved questioned the ridiculous idea behind it. Not quite in the Pepsi/Kendall Jenner league of debacles, but it’s a reminder that brands and agencies should always use their common sense.

 

 

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall
Emma Hall is the former London Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

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