Vodafone’s latest advert with Sherlock’s Martin Freeman deemed misleading by ASA

Have you ever wondered how Dr. Watson occupies his down time when he’s not helping the world’s most famous consulting detective solve crimes?

By being a spokesperson for Vodafone, a British multinational telecommunications conglomerate and 9th largest telephone operating company, obviously.

Well, actually, it’s Martin Freeman, who portrays Dr. John Watson alongside Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes in what still remains the absolute best series on television, Sherlock.

A recent Vodafone advert starring Freeman (above), in which the actor seems to be breaking up with his partner but is really trying to leave the phone firm, has been banned for being misleading by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ASA said the advert implied it was possible for customers to leave a contract at any time when, in fact, people are only allowed to quit during the initial 30-day period.

Freeman’s character says, “I haven’t got the strength to keep arguing with you,” before a few seconds later, adding, “I’m leaving.” A voice from the phone immediately replies: “You can’t leave, you’re still within your contract.”

A voiceover then says: “Breaking up’s never easy. But unlike other networks, Vodafone has a 30-day service guarantee, so if you don’t love us you can leave us.”

A Vodafone spokes person stated that the company wanted to highlight that its service guarantee was for 30 days, whereas other companies only allowed customers a 15-day period of grace.

The ASA acted after complaints from 11 customers who challenged the advert, feeling the ad suggested that customers could leave whenever they wanted. The Authority made it clear that any future advertising must not misleadingly imply that its service guarantee applied at any time.

Rest assured, the star of Sherlock, The Hobbit, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Fargo and the original Office is brilliant in all of his Vodafone efforts, especially in this Christmas advert from 2017:

Let’s hope there is time on his calendar soon for a bit of Sherlock in the not-too-distant future.


‘Sherlock’ S5 may be a ways off
Working with the dog in ‘Sherlock’ is not as elementary as it appears on screen
Radio Times’ epic dissection of newest ‘Sherlock’ photo
Nearly 100-year-old Sherlock Holmes film discovered in Paris
Sherlock in the 21st Century (2010)

In: Odds & Sods