Regulatory Authority: Advert Is In “Bad Taste”

February 10, 2014

[Updated] CEO of the Regulatory Authority Philip Micallef has emailed the CEO of Digicel Wayne Caines to say that their recent advertisment “is unlikely to fall into the category of unethical or unlawful conduct on the part of Digicel”, however the RA “feels that it is in “bad taste.”

The RA said the advertisement concerned Digicel’s free internet promotion which is under investigation by the RA pursuant to a complaint raised by Logic last month. At the top of the advertisement, appears a cartoon of a woman winking with the following caption “Below is the promotion Logic doesn’t want you to know about”.

Mr Micallef’s full email follows below:

Dear Wayne,

On Friday 7 February 2014 Digicel placed an advertisement in the Royal Gazette daily news paper on page 9 and placed a similar one today on page 12. The advertisement concerned Digicel’s free internet promotion which, it is well known, remains under investigation by the RA pursuant to a complaint raised by Logic on 23 January 2014.

At the top of the advertisement, appears a cartoon (meme) of a woman winking with the following caption “Below is the promotion Logic doesn’t want you to know about”. Logic sought the RA’s views on the use of its name in the advert. We advised Logic to communicate any concerns it had with the advert to you directly.

For the RA’s part, we have considered the relevant provisions of the RAA and Digicel’s licence obligations placed on Digicel.The advert is unlikely to fall into the category of unethical or unlawful conduct on the part of Digicel. However, the RA feels that it is in bad taste.

This is especially in light of the fact that Logic has complained about Digicel’s free internet promotion using the proper channels and that both parties have been informed that, although the investigation has not been completed, the promotion will not be suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

Against this backdrop it would appear as though Digicel are using the circumstances of Logic’s complaint and the RA’s decision concerning one portion of it to gain further commercial advantage over Logic solely on the basis that Logic has used its right to complain concerning the promotion.

The RA encourages competition between carriers and believes that competition within the bounds of reasonableness is good for the consumer.

In this particular instance, however, the RA considers the advert to run contrary to what is ordinarily considered healthy competition and has strayed away from the promotion of Digicel’s services and it’s belief that it provides good value to customers and into the area of poking fun at a fellow ICOL holder for failing to succeed in one part of its complaint.

This email is not a decision and will have no bearing on the investigation into Digicel’s actions concerning the promotion its self, however, the RA believes it is important to let carriers know where they stand on certain aspects of advertising when the circumstances arise.

The Regulatory Authority shall be expressing the same views aired above in any comments requested from us by the media.



Update 6.11pm: In response, Mr. Caines said: “I would like to take this opportunity to respond to comments released by the RA to the media regarding recent advertisements about our innovative Free Internet Promotion.

“As you may be aware, when we launched this promotion, which saves customers $600 over the course of a year, Logic complained. It seems that Logic is now complaining that we have drawn attention to the fact that they did not want customers to benefit from this promotion in the first place. We respect Logic as a competitor in a dynamic telecommunications market. The irony of this second complaint, however, must be apparent to our customers.

“Digicel will continue to bring new and innovative promotions to the market because we believe that ultimately customers benefit. Prices have decreased across the board since we first introduced Digicel Internet. That is something of which we are proud. We aim to make people smile with our promotions and the most recent ads are no exception.”

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Comments (21)

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  1. swing voter says:

    so the ad is a prob? R U KIDDING ME? (yes I’m shouting)

  2. Nuffin but da Truth says:

    NOTHING is FREE in this World!
    (one way or another you pay for everything).

    • watcher55 says:

      Tru dat, free is simply a term used which means deferred payment, and trust me they get their years subscription or “free gift” back big time in years 2 and 3!

  3. Silver Lining says:

    I actually laughed out loud when I saw the ad last week… but I guess not everyone has the same “taste” in humour.

  4. Come Correct says:

    So logic should come out with a person winking and below saying “This is the fine print Digismell doesn’t want you to see.”

    • Um.... says:

      They could do that. But how about they offer customers a reason to use their service. Regardless of whether or not the ad is in “bad taste”, it’s an offer to consumers. More choice is a good thing.

      • Come Correct says:

        That’s the thing, they do. Digicel offers one year free Internet with a certain package. Any reasonably intelligent person would give them 2 middle fingers up because any reasonably intelligent person would know nothing in life is free…nothing. At least logic isn’t cloaking their packages in a false wrapper. Whatever deal you think you may get from a service provider, believe me, they get the better deal. I’d rather pay my monthly bill at said price than be locked into a contract for said years because it’s wrapped in pretty paper, yet if you get crappy service, you get crappy service for said years. Digicel knows all about discounts for contracts. In reality it screws the little man, they capitalize on people that can’t pay up. READ THE FINE PRINT!

        • jane says:

          if you know about the fine print then its your job to read it, don think for one second that logic doesn’t have fine print on its services. How about just offer the customers a better deal instead of b*tching about a competitors offer.

  5. Faith says:

    One thing is free and that is the publicity this has garnered for Digicel; reaching a far wider audience than had Logic just left it alone.

  6. moms says:

    did no one notice that Bermuda Paint Company ad was also in bad taste imo!

  7. Robin says:

    Who/what is this Government body that thinks they can control taste. 1984 has passed

  8. Laughing cow says:

    I thought so, but then again, they are trying to portray it as art, but the wording of the ad has nothing to do with art.

  9. someone says:

    what i find really FUNNY. is that Logic didnt complain about the AD the RA thought it was in bad taste and has said something. and IMHO the best deal out right now at this present monmet is cellone with their bundles package. no matter how you wrap up Digicell package it is still more expensive in the long run. and the prices fell around the same time that Digicel came into the market but not because of Digicell. Because once TBI came out with their pricing which under cut ecveryone that is when everyone came down. Logic had no choice and neither did Digicell. Because before that Digivel and Logic has the came cost with a difference of a few pennies. so if you really want to thank some one for the great deals we are getting right now thank the RA and TBI because they are really the ones that did it. and also Link bermuda right not is the most cost effective service if you do not have a bundles package. so it dont matter what digicel does if you sit down and do a budget you will make a decision on what is best for you in the long run. Because remeber that prices will contiune to fall but you will be locked into that price for the next two years.

  10. Alice M. Kingsleigh says:

    Taste is a matter of opinion. And the thing about opinions is that everyone has one. My opinion is that it is in poor taste to send an email meant for one person to all the media… but that’s just my take on the matter.

  11. Got Popcorn? says:

    Lol. Clearly CableVision has the genre wrong in their adverts…this isn’t a drama, it’s a comedy. Heehee.

  12. Mr. JIF says:

    This is the type of competition Bermuda has been missing in all its markets. Bravo Digicell

  13. swing voter says:

    I’m not fond of any of the ‘leading’ market players but I gotta give it to Caines and his team….kinda like his irritating tactics making the market and the RA sit up str8! lol

  14. Unearthed says:

    Logic is not accustomed to competition so they complain to the RA about another carrier providing a better promotion.

    Logic needs to open up the NorthRock book of marketing tips and tricks and become innovative.

  15. Prices says:

    Prices will continue to drop over the next 1-2 years as the telcomms firms expand into other telecomms lines. This is very similar to what Logic did right before ICOLs were issued. Lock people in at one price right before competition increases and prices drop.

    As it stands currently, if you currently use a 4mbps internet package say through Link Bermuda (Broadband Service: $32.95; 4Mb Access through Cablevision: $35; Total: $67.95 per month; $1,630.80 for the 2 year period) That assumes that prices will not drop any lower during the period (But remember 4Mb used to cost about $140 per month or about $70 more per month than it does now and prices will drop further. They dropped $70 in less than a year.

    Through the Digicel offer if you currently have 4 Mb you will have to upgrade to 6Mb ($50 per month-free for year 1: $600 total for 1 year; plus 6 Mb Access at $45 per month price for internet for 2 years $1680 ). If you don’t need 6Mb then you paid $50 more than you would have plus locked in phone AND internet contracts. Even if prices drop, the customer will be stuck on Digicel’s contract and forced to pay that price.

    If the customer has 6mb already than over the 2 year period they would pay $2110.80 ($430.80 more than with Digicel) but if prices drop a mere $18 per month between cellphone and ISP. Then you end up paying more than you would have and are locked down to digicel for 2 years for cell and internet. If prices dropped by more than $70 per month for Internet and Access alone in less than a year. another $30 per month decrease for ALL telecomms services would not be far-fetched.

  16. Gotham says:

    It would also be in the public interest if the BMA or more likely the Minister of Finance could reconsider whether or not the founder and main shareholder of Digicel is a suitable investor in Bermuda given the major findings against him in his own country by an independent judicial tribunal. One hopes and prays that Digicel was not brought here under similar circumstances.

  17. Come On Man says:

    Some folks don’t beleive in freedom of speech or don’t know the meaning if healthy competition or democracy. Logic take a break.