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Jamster fights TV advertising ban

Advertising Standards Agency ruling described as 'flawed'

Following the recent ruling which banned the airing of Crazy Frog ringtone adverts before the 9PM watershed, the company responsible for the annoying amphibian has stated its intention to overturn the decision.

According to The Register, VeriSign subsidiary Jamster intends to "pursue all legal means to overturn the ASA's unjust and unfounded decision about its past advertisements."

The decision to prevent advertising for the Crazy Frog and his friends on UK television before the watershed stems from hundreds of complaints received by the ASA. Eighty complaints were relating to the suggestion that the advertising slots did not make clear that a subscription service, rather than a one-off purchase was being sold.

An alarmingly high number of complaints - some 244 in total - focused on the advertising being specifically aimed at children, with 33 complaints coming from parents who claimed their children had downloaded ringtones from the service and subsequently received large phone bills.

Jamster claims that the products and services are aimed at mobile phone users aged over 16, stating: "The ASA fails to adequately consider the well-established fact that the overwhelming majority of Jamster's customers are above the age 16."

In an attempt to persuade the ASA of this fact, Jamster produced a survey stating that less than 3.87 percent of its customers were under 16. The survey was dismissed by the ASA on the grounds of inadequate or inappropriate data.

The ASA ruling states: "We appreciated the efforts taken by Jamster to initiate a survey to provide us with customer figures, but we did not consider that the internal survey had been adequate to show the age of Jamster customers. It was based on calls to the customer service department over a six-day period."

Jamster has received a number of previous complaints regarding the Crazy Frog advertising, with restrictions and recommendations for the alteration of both voice and text advertising already issued by the ASA.

MTV Networks Subsidiary MTV Central, which broadcasts in Germany, Austria and Switzerland recently clamped down on ringtone service advertising with a ban on direct response ads (ringtones and mobile content services) between 4pm and Midnight. The ban will come into effect on October 1st, extending to sister channel VIVA in March 2007.

Jamster's ringtone, screensaver and video characters Crazy Frog, Nessie the Dragon and Sweetie the Chick have proven exceptionally successful for the firm, and the Crazy Frog character is set to make the transfer from mobile to console, with a PlayStation 2 videogame currently in development. Part of the ASA ruling stated that Jamster had aired some 40,000 TV advertising slots over a period of just one month.

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