DTAC pulls controversial iPhone ad
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DTAC pulls controversial iPhone ad

People try out the iPhone 6 at its launch by DTAC in Bangkok on Oct 31, 2014. (Photo by Krit Promsaka na Sakolnakorn)
People try out the iPhone 6 at its launch by DTAC in Bangkok on Oct 31, 2014. (Photo by Krit Promsaka na Sakolnakorn)

Total Access Communication Plc, the operator of DTAC mobile phone service, has pulled off the air after four days a TV ad promoting the exchange of any smartphone for an iPhone 6 at a discount following unexpected responses.

Online forums were abuzz over the weekend with comments about the "Any Phone for iPhone 6" commercial, which was also pulled offline on Monday.

The ad, which went live on Friday, shows people using some features of their iPhones. Other people watch in awe and then try to hide their non-iPhone handsets. The ad concluded by saying: “It's time for you to change your handsets to iPhones”.

Apparently, the commercial struck a raw nerve and several people felt the ad insults users of other brands.

"I don't like the ad. It implies whoever doesn't use an iPhone should feel ashamed. I don't know whether it's normal in other countries but I'm not familiar with such concept [of advertising]," wrote aoikotori, a pantip.com poster.

DTAC, which has a support team browsing through pantip.com to help its customers, apologised to the poster, saying the campaign only tried to encourage customers who are planning to change their handsets to consider the offer.

A few posters of the same thread also mocked DTAC for asking users to register their SIMs as required by regulators by using its Android app, a rival operating system of iPhone’s iOS.

"Why then do we have to register using Android phones, and not iPhones?"

The thread, which attracted 131 comments in 17 hours, soon become a hot topic at the pantip.com community.

DTAC's clip of the ad on YouTube got 1,250 dislikes and 58,000 views as of Sunday night, according to Gimme, a poster at Driodsans, a website for mobile phone users, who captured some screenshots of the clip in his post.

“The ad not only disgusts users of smartphones on other platforms. Some iPhone users I know also felt bad about it as it promotes materialism and encourages people to judge others by their accessories,” he wrote.

On Monday afternoon, DTAC issued a statement, apologising about the ad.

“We appreciate every comment and criticism. To show our sincerity, we decided to pull the ad off the air,” it said.

DTAC shares plunged 3% to 64.75 baht against the SET index’s loss of 0.61% on Monday.

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