MTN’s linguistic latitude isn’t unlimited, says ad watchdog

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MTN’s linguistic latitude isn’t unlimited, says ad watchdog

The firm is ordered to withdraw its claim of ‘unlimited minutes’, and warned not to make a similar claim in future

Cape Town bureau chief

A company has no right to change the meaning of an ordinary word to mislead consumers, the advertising watchdog has ruled.

The guilty organisation, in this case, is MTN, the product is airtime and the word is “unlimited”, which the small print clarified as 3,600 minutes a month, or two hours a day.

“That is like saying that an item is free, except that you have to pay for some of it,” the Advertising Regulatory Board said in its ruling last week. “It is two contradictory statements and is therefore inherently misleading.”..

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