ASA Adjudication on Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd
Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd
1000 Hillswood Drive
29 September 2010
Computers and telecommunications
Number of complaints:
Cheil Europe Ltd
A TV ad for a mobile phone showed a number of people confused about their whereabouts after becoming immersed while using a Samsung Wave. The voice-over said "Lose yourself in entertainment like never before on the world's first super AMOLED HD screen. The Samsung Wave Smartphone. Welcome to more".
The complainant objected that the claim "The world's first super AMOLED HD screen" was misleading because he understood the resolution on the phone's screen was not high enough for it to be classed as 'High Definition'.
BCAP TV Code
Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd (Samsung) said the term "HD" referred to "High Definition" and that this term had a specific and well understood meaning in connection with television screens and video formats. They explained that, for television screens and video formats, "HD" had come to mean one of two resolutions, that being 1,280x720 or 1,920x1,080. They said no mobile phone on the market from any manufacturer had a screen with resolutions that high and that such resolutions were not necessary to get extremely clear images, graphics and videos on screens that size.
They said the terms "HD" or "High Definition" in this context were not used in the same manner as when describing TV screens or video formats but that a number of mobile devices had been referred to as HD because of their high resolution screens. They said the Wave phone screen had a resolution of 480x800 which was very high for a screen of 3.3 inches in size and that it was able to record and play video in HD resolution (1,280x720) and display photographs with an even higher resolution. They also said that Samsung was also the only manufacturer that used a super AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) screen technology and that this made images on the screen more vivid and better defined than traditional OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) screens used in other phone.
They said that although they had originally intended to use the phrase "Hyper Definition", it was replaced with "HD" in the final version of the script and ad which was submitted to Clearcast. They said that no further information or substantiation was requested prior to that ad being cleared.
They said that regardless of how they believed the term "HD screen" was likely be interpreted in this context, they had voluntarily removed it from the ad.
Clearcast said the original script for the ad used the phrase "Hyper Definition" as opposed to "HD" and that this had been approved based on the understanding that the phrase did not have a definitive meaning that was likely to confuse consumers about the quality of the screen. They explained that although the evidence supplied by Samsung made references to "HD" and "High Definition", it had not been proposed that this phrase was used in the ad itself. Clearcast explained that if the phrase had been proposed at script stage, Samsung would have been expected to demonstrate that "HD" would be correctly understood by consumers, in the context of a mobile phone screen. They stated that Samsung had changed the approved script without notifying Clearcast and that the phrase "HD" had therefore been missed when the ad went through its final clearance.
The ASA noted that the Samsung Wave phone was able to record and play-back video with a resolution of 1,280x720 which was the same resolution as TV screens which were defined as being "high definition". However, we also noted the mobile phone screen itself had a resolution of 480x800 and that no functions on the phone were therefore viewable in High Definition. Because the term "HD", did not have a clear and separate definition in relation to mobile phone screens, we considered that most consumers would assume that the same HD resolutions that applied to HD TV screens would also apply in this context, irrespective of whether such a resolution was necessary to achieve the highest quality images on a small mobile phone screen. Because the mobile phone screen could not be defined as HD under the understood and accepted definition that applied to High Definition TV screens, we concluded that the reference to HD in the voice-over "the worlds first super AMOLED HD screen" was likely to mislead.
The ad breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 5.1.1, 5.1.3 (Misleading advertising) and 5.2.1 (Evidence).
The ad should not be broadcast again in its current form.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Broadcast)