Motorola advert in jeopardy

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The Independent Online

Motorola's advertising campaign for its new motoRAZR mobile phone is being investigated over complaints that it is "irresponsible" in the current climate of fear over knife crime.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it had received more than 100 complaints about the advert, which appeared in magazines earlier this month.

The phone is branded with the Dolce & Gabbana logo, and in the ad the fashion designer Domenico Dolce is shown wielding the new sleek gold mobile phone so it looks like a flick knife. His partner Stefano Gabbana is sporting a long knife wound on his cheek.

A spokesman from the ASA said it had launched its inquiry last week. The case will now go before the ASA council, which will seek an explanation from Motorola before making its decision. If the council rules against Motorola, the company will have to withdraw the campaign.

"Most of the complaints", the ASA stated, "said the advert was inappropriate and insensitive in the light of news reports on knife crime and the recent knife amnesty. They said it was irresponsible."

Brand consultants say companies often use deliberately controversial advertising to make their products stand out. William Grobel, consultant for Intangible Business, added: "Media coverage helps extend the life of an advertiser's campaign. It's a way of making your money go further."

US giant Motorola is the world's second-largest mobile maker. The RAZR range has been one of its most successful, with 50 million handsets sold since its launch two years ago.