back to article Vodafone accused of talkingtoofastinradioad

Vodafone jabbered its terms and conditions at an unreasonable clip in a radio ad, according to a complaint upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority. Many advertisers have trouble squeezing their verbalised small print into the end of a radio advert without boring customers, and Vodafone's latest promotion managed to …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Sexy voice

    I wonder what it's not like on helium though :-D

    Paris - because she can probably barely string a pair of words together in 7 seconds - never mind several full sentences!

  2. Andy H

    More to the point.

    It uses the terms "unlimited" and "Fair Usage Policy" in the same paragraph, which is far more misleading than someone talking quickly.

    I work Unlimited hours*

    *Fair Usage applies**

    **Only when I think its fair to work.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    coporate (lack of) common sense

    "Vodafone contended that the ASA rules make no specification about the speed at which terms and conditions are read out, and so they couldn't be found to be breaking the rules"

    So, because the regulations are not in minute detail corporate lawyers want to ignore common sense... helping to make our world crazier.

    If it cannot be heard as it is too fast, then there is no point in saying it atall, therefore saying it too fast amounts to not saying it atall.

    The idiot at vodafone really needs someone to do an "ignorant tw*t says what?" joke on them. (wayne's world style).

  4. Jeremy


    I challenge the moaner to listen and actually understand some of the verbal small print diarrhea we get in radio ads the states... Waaay faster than Vodafone's ad.

  5. Steven Cuthbertson
    Thumb Down

    Unintelligible babble

    I for one hate the babble at the end of radio adverts to such a great extent that I no longer listen to commercial radio. I always think that anyone who believes there are no strings attached to adverts deserves to be disappointed when they hit the showrooms.

    Bah, humbug!

  6. Tom

    Thats actually a bloke doing the voice over

    When they sped it up, they forgot to fix the pitch.k

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not only speed...

    ...but there's an unnatural pattern going on.

    For example, "subject to status, availability and connection to an 18-month contract." sounds like "subject to status availiability. And connection to an 18-month contract [no fullstop]". The way she says the website address doesn't match how most people say website addresses.

    So it's not only arguably too fast, it's also arguably not English at all....



    You can't take out a contract without dealing with the real thing in the paperwork, so why bother with the 'smallprint' on radio anyway?

    It just annoys the listeners. Much like the rest of the ad, probably.

    I should know, I've been writing them for 25 years...

    The one with earplugs in the pocket, please

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Unlimited hours

    I wonder if I can buy out some of these phone companies and ISPs. I'll offer them unlimited* money each month for the rest of their lives** for their businesses.

    * Fair use of my money applies... only 2%*** of my total earnings will be paid to you each month.

    ** Based on 2%*** of their entire lifespan.

    *** 2% figure based on a 50GB monthly limit compared to the maximum**** amount an 8MB connection could theoretically download in an average month.

    **** Maximum worked out as follows: (b=bits / B=Bytes)

    8Mb/s connection = 1MB/s

    1MB/s = 60MB/minute

    60MB/minute = 3600MB/hour

    3600MB/hour = 86.4GB/day

    86.4GB/day = 2592GB/month (30 day month)

    I think I lost Paris at Hello

  10. David Burton


    Definitely a bit fast. Worse than that it's got terms like 'fair use' which remain equally undefined (and unreasonable as ever).

  11. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    Sounds like Vogon Poetry to me

    as heard in the first Hitchhikers' Guide radio play

    Mine's the one with 42 on the back

  12. Nick

    Cant they just say?

    "Read the small print before signing so you're aware of how you'll be shafted".

    Whats that, 14 words? Leaving them more time to get Dame Judi Dench* to sprout their lies.

    Other industries could adopt similar approaches:-

    "We'll have our house back if you stop paying us money"

    "Its safer to invest your cash under your bed"

    "McBurger meal depicted is made of rubber and not constructed by a spotty youff"

    "You'll look like a right wally and people will assume you have a small penis if you drive this car"

    and so on...

    *Yes, I realise it wasn't her on the offending bit of the advert in question.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Very nice. Or how about an announcement before the ad break:

    "The following, we played because we were paid to do so by someone with a vested interest and no concern at all for you."

    And after:

    "If you want that crap more than you want your cash, bear in mind richer people than you have the opposite opinion. Your call."

  14. Andy Taylor
    Thumb Down

    Well I could understand it perfectly

    No problem at all. Plus the number of times you hear these bloody adverts, it'd only take a couple of listens to get it.

    I don't tend to listen to commercial radio any more, but I did catch my local station the other day and heard a radio advert that could have been from twenty years ago. If you remember Radio Active's "Martins of Bond Street Sale" sketch, you will understand. Ghastly.

  15. Daniel

    Someone has made a mistake here

    "Most normal people speak at around 60 words a minute..."


    Try 170 words per minute for the average english speaking adult. For those who remember him, Mr. Rogers* spoke at 124 wpm. In contrast, most high school students speak (and have full comprehension) at approx. 145 wpm., which can cause problems when teachers speak at what they feel to be a normal pace. 60 wpm, however, is more closely associated with those just learning the language and people with developmental disabilities.


    * For those who don't know, Mr. Rogers was a very popular children's show host years ago on PBS here in the States.

  16. RW
    IT Angle

    Speaking of 42

    That's why the PostScript encapsulation of a TrueType font file is called a Type 42 font: it's the solution to everything.

    Really. Don't believe me? Phone Adobe.

    Some things you just can't make up.

  17. Darkwolf
    Black Helicopters

    Whats this about a 60min call cap?

    If theres a 60 min call cap, that mean you can speak for an hour, then you have to hang up? or does this mean you only get 60 minutes per period you pay for?

    A few filters, some speed adjustment, and I've gotten it nearly understandable at approx 11 seconds. Only 3 seconds more then the previous 8 seconds.

  18. Neil Kay
    Paris Hilton

    But are there any traces of nuts?

    Is it actually a legal requirement to add terms to a radio ad anyway or do they all suffer from the fact that 'x' company did it in 1997 and so everyone else thought they'd better too.

    Paris, because $RandomParisJustification

  19. Christian Digby-Firth

    Conditions apply, but please don't read them

    Same thing with Terms & Conditions printed in grey mouse-type on your junk mail. Or scrolling Agree/Disagree online T&Cs. Or "see website". Or the lines at the foot of billboards that you'd need a telescope to decipher.

    No-one* reads them.

    So the question is: do the regulators really care about us punters? Or are they more interested in covering their behinds?

    More effective (and honest) would be to insist that advertisers include all essential details in their main messages, with a ban on small print. And if that would take a 2-minute radio spot or a super-size billboard to explain, then the product is probably too complicated anyway.

    Not to worry for now, though: just shove all the negative stuff in an unreadable/inaudible footnote and everyone** is happy.

    * In the alternative universe of the asterisk, "no-one" can of course mean "some people". OK?

    ** Except the rest of us.

  20. Pete James

    Pinky and Perky

    As one wag texted in to 5Live yesterday, the woman who did the voiceover would have been an ideal to do a live commentary on the LHC experiment yesterday.

  21. Anony mouse

    @Sexy Voice

    What you don't know is it was recorded by a bloke but given a sexy timbre when it was sped up...

    I prefer the radio ads for home loans where someone really cheerful and sunny tells you that they'll repo your house if you don't pay up...


  22. Paolo
    Thumb Up


    "We'll have our house back if you stop paying us money"

    You owe me a new keyboard :)

    I think that's a brilliant set of replacements for the small print waffle. In fact, I'm going to email the Plain English Campaign right now...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whatever happened to...

    ...Terms and conditions apply?

    The "small print" on the ad is only a tiny subset of the small print on the contract so I see no point in broadcasting it. Surely you either force them to broadcast the whole of the Ts&Cs or simply state that there are some?

  24. Wize

    I dislike the 'small print' adverts

    I regularly change channels when they are on and forget to change back.

    I don't mind other adverts. Some are even entertaining. Just don't start stuffing in detailed terms and conditions or credit examples.

  25. Dan Howarth
    Paris Hilton


    Because if they don't have it on the radio ad, the customer will come into the shop, ask for the deal they're advertising, and complain when they see the limitations. This usually happens because they're idiots who expect all information to be in the advert.

    So to avert this catastrophe of slaespeople having to do their jobs, they try to put all of this information in the ad.

    Paris, because she couldn't talk at all at one time

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