Advertising can be tough. You've got to get something that's going to make your product stand out from the crowd for the right reasons, rather than just annoying viewers. For Vodafone New Zealand, the plan was to get viewers to text a prominent Kiwi celeb with an on-screen number. The problem arose when those texts started slamming the mobile of one of its customers instead.
The ad went to air featuring Boy actor James Rolleston, who was gloating about how much text and data credit he got on his Vodafone NZ $19 plan.
"I've got so much credit, I could probably reply to all you right now!", he boasted on the ad, before a phone number appeared on screen. The implication was that viewers would text the actor on the special service to chat, which would grow engagement with the brand (I feel dirty for talking like this).
Instead, a lot of people actually got the number one digit wrong, and started spamming the mobile of Maha Nicholson -- an innocent Vodafone NZ prepaid customer.
After his phone started melting down, he called Vodafone to explain the problem. He was credited $NZ200 to his account and the ad was pulled.
The shocking thing is that this isn't the first time Vodafone NZ has had that exact problem. Cara Selway was the last New Zealander spammed thanks to a Vodafone marketing campaign. When will they learn? [NZ Herald]