Misleading HTC U11 and gory OnePlus 5 ads get banned in the UK

It’s not easy to stand out in a sea of similarly impressive and often just similar high-end smartphones these days, which is why their manufacturers will sometimes exaggerate the capabilities of a hot new flagship mobile device or try to make headlines in every possible way with unconventional publicity stunts.

Unfortunately for HTC and OnePlus, certain markets are regulated by watchdogs like the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority, which didn’t really enjoy the shenanigans of a couple of recent U11 and OP5 video ads. The Taiwanese OEM in particular was hurt by the ASA ruling in the case of a commercial specifically targeted at British audiences.

Said 50-second clip, which has already been removed from the company’s official YouTube account, showed Olympic diver, multiple world and continental champion and local hero Tom Daley take a number of “extreme selfies” using an HTC U11. Mainly highlighting the strengths and convenience of the phone’s squeezable sides, as well as the front camera’s prowess, the advert also indirectly sent a message that’s not entirely accurate.

Namely, while the U11 is IP67 rated for water resistance, HTC can’t guarantee it’ll be able to survive immersion in “most standard swimming pools.” As such, the ad “must not appear again in its current form”, even with an end warning telling viewers not to try this stunt themselves.

As for “Lake Blood”, which is only one of many controversial OnePlus 5 and 5T promo videos uploaded to YouTube over the past year or so, the ASA’s verdict is the same, but on different grounds. Specifically, “the ad must not appear again in its current form” due to its excessive use of gore and violence. The Authority did acknowledge the video’s tongue-in-cheek nature, but the content in the final scene was still deemed “unexpectedly shocking” and “unduly distressing.” Then again, the ruling may have come a little late, as the OP5 is no longer sold on British soil.

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About The Author
Adrian Diaconescu
Adrian has had an insatiable passion for writing since he was in school and found himself writing philosophical essays about the meaning of life and the differences between light and dark beer. Later, he realized this was pretty much his only marketable skill, so he first created a personal blog (in Romanian) and then discovered his true calling, which is writing about all things tech (in English).