Telkom not playing with fire

The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) has ruled in favour of Telkom following a complaint over one of its advertisements. The TV advert in question features a man who enters a hardware store for help, with his left arm on fire. The hardware store owner is speaking to another customer, and does not pay attention to the man who is on fire.

When the man calls for his attention, the store owner turns to him and says: “I’m currently unavailable, please leave a message after the tone.” A viewer did not find this amusing, and lodged a complaint with the ASA. She said the advert was distasteful and it sends a bad message.

She said the ad gives the impression that fire cannot hurt you, and is especially bad for children. Telkom responded, stating that the commercial does not feature, target, or address children, and merely promotes a value-add service to businesses. The ASA said it is unlikely that any child would interpret this commercial as a message that fire does not hurt you.

“If anything, it reflects a farcical situation not unlike typical slap-stick comedies and cartoons seen on television,” said the ASA.

The ASA dismissed the complaint.

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