Major OEM HTC's ad featuring its HTC U11 flagship being dunked into a swimming pool by professional swimmer Tom Daley, has been branded misleading by the UK's Advertising Standards Administration and banned from the airwaves, along with a somewhat unsettling and gory ad by Chinese firm OnePlus. The HTC ad shows Daley jumping from the high dive of a large pool and taking selfies with the phone's squeezable sides on the way down, then using the phone as he exits the pool. The OnePlus ad, meanwhile, draws fairly obvious inspiration from the Friday the 13th franchise. The ad featured a bit of bait-and-switch comedy against a decidedly dark background in order to emphasize the fact that the OnePlus 5 takes better photos than its rivals, all while poking fun at modern smartphone owners' collective drive to document everything around them with their beloved devices. The commercial, titled "Lake Blood," is implied to end with its dual protagonists done away with by a masked man with a chainsaw, who is seen in the end of the commercial using one of the OnePlus 5 phones that the protagonists were using near the beginning to take photos and video of him.
The exaggeration of the HTC U11's waterproof capabilties is argued by HTC, with the company saying that the ad shows the phone being only briefly submerged at shallow depths, a situation covered by the device's IP67 rating. The ASA, on the other hand, argues that the average consumer may not be able to keep the phone within the recommended depth level in such a situation, and the differing compositions of swimming pools mean that not all pools are safe places for the device. The ad has been banned in the UK thanks to the ASA's ruling, but HTC has not taken it down from many international channels in its collective YouTube presence, The ASA has stated that it intends to ensure this happens. As of this writing, OnePlus has not said anything about the motion, and the Lake Blood spot is still up on YouTube across many of OnePlus' corporate channels.
While these two ads were banned for different reasons, one fact remains constant between the two of them; the campaigns, while complained about, did receive a lot of praise, and have almost certainly been uploaded all around the internet, making it impossible for the ASA to eliminate them entirely. Even on YouTube, the HTC ad has already been uploaded by people with no formal ties to HTC, which means that getting them down would require the ASA to demand private uploaders to remove their content. This would arguably amount to censorship of the citizenry, a volatile topic in its own right.