Cape Town – MultiChoice has agreed not to broadcast one of its TV commercials on DStv again – an advert touting its DStv BoxOffice service – with films that it doesn't actually have available on its video-on-demand service.
It comes after a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) earlier this year that MultiChoice was showing a DStv BoxOffice commercial that included the names of four films – Hidden Figures, Hacksaw Ridge, La La Land and Moonlight – as well as the number of Oscar nominations and "wins" the films received, and the claim "BoxOffice by DStv has the gold" at the end.
Geoffrey Skelton lodged a consumer complaint against MultiChoice's DStv BoxOffice and said that MultiChoice's TV commercial was designed to mislead the public into believing that these films are currently available to view on DStv BoxOffice, "when in fact none of these films are available to view".
MultiChoice in its defence told the ASA that "the advertisement promotes the types of films that a subscriber can expect from DStv BoxOffice, and took advantage of the recent Oscar Awards and the films that either were nominated or won awards".
MultiChoice denied that the advertisement was designed or intended to mislead the public, but agreed that its message may be misleading, apologised, and said it won't repeat the advertisement in the same format.
The ASA directorate said that where an advertiser provides an unequivocal undertaking to withdraw or amend its advertising in a manner that addresses the concerns raised, the undertaking may, at the discretion of the ASA, be accepted without considering the merits of the matter.
MultiChoice's "undertaking appears to address the complainant’s concerns and there is therefore no need to consider the merits of the matter at this time".