Ad description

A TV ad for Mous, a mobile phone case company, seen on 15 October 2023, featured an individual who said, “50 people … throwing their phones in Mous cases … let’s go.” Several people then threw their mobile phones into the air at the same time, followed by close-ups of the phones mid-air, before they landed on the ground. In the following scene, those individuals looked relieved after checking their phones and finding that they had not been damaged and continued to function as normal.


The complainant challenged whether the ad misleadingly exaggerated the efficacy of Mous phone cases because their phone was damaged after a fall from a short height when fitted with the product.


Mous Products Ltd t/a Mous said the ad was intended to demonstrate that their phone cases provided enhanced protection against drops and falls. They believed the ad did not exaggerate or make any claims about performance or capability but demonstrated a genuine record of 50 simultaneous drop tests. They highlighted that the ad did not state or imply that their products would prevent all damage from occurring in the event that a phone was dropped, nor did it include a statement about their products providing a particular level of protection. They explained the ad showed a sample of 50 users testing their products in a group challenge, and the ad was an honest and genuine representation of the outcome of that test, with all 50 participants’ phones undamaged. However, they did not believe that a consumer would interpret the ad to mean that a Mous phone case would prevent damage in all circumstances, particularly because they believed it was well known that phones with glass screens were likely to incur damage if dropped.

They explained that their testing process was rigorous and demonstrated that the use of their protective cases made phone damage less likely in the event of a fall or drop than an uncased phone. In their internal drop test reports, they said that they assessed the calling functionality, speaker operation, GPS navigation, volume and power button performance, wifi connectivity and correct charging function of a phone, which they believed would identify any internal damage issues. They also said that they had documentary evidence of the phone drops seen in the ad and had carried out thousands of drops tests across ten years in the development of their product. They provided a sample of evidence that consisted of three such drop test reports.

Mous acknowledged that there would be circumstances where a drop or fall less extreme than that shown in the ad would cause damage to a phone, despite using the same Mous phone case. They explained that other contributary factors could influence the level of damage sustained, such as the type of surface on the ground, the condition and drop history of the phone prior to using the phone case, and whether the user had correctly secured the phone within the case. They included text on their warranty page and website as part of the purchase process which stated that their phone cases did not make devices indestructible. For clarity, they said that they would be taking steps to amend their ads to include similar text to that seen in their warranty highlighting that, whilst their products were highly protective, they did not make a customer’s device indestructible. They said that if a consumer complained to them directly in relation to damage incurred whilst using one of their phone case products, they would honour their consumer rights and warranty process.

Clearcast did not believe the ad implied the case would prevent all damage to a phone; instead, the ad suggested that the case was better able to mitigate damage, and was particularly rugged. They said that anyone who had experience of purchasing a protective case would be aware that all damage could not be prevented entirely owing to existing superficial damage and other environmental factors.

As part of the approval process, Clearcast requested evidence from the advertiser demonstrating that the phones had been protected following the drop shown in the ad. They were provided with data relating to the 50 phones used in the ad; it showed that a mixture of different models of varying ages had been used and that they had been dropped onto concrete paving. It also showed that the phones had been assessed after for damage to the screen, camera, button and hardware function, phone casing and also to the protective case itself. They said the test data showed that all phones were fully functional following the filming of the scene. To be certain of their interpretation, they explained that they also took advice from their consultant who agreed that the data was a comprehensive overview of the in-use durability of the cases used in the ad. They said the agency had also provided them with further information regarding the materials and manufacture of the cases and the test protocol each design was subject to prior to launch, as well as reviews from customers that further highlighted that the cases were designed to specifically protect against drops and falls.

Given that they had received an assurance that the final ad would show a genuine demonstration sequence that occurred as shot, and they were provided with data evidencing the product’s performance on each of the phones, they were satisfied with the ad.



The ASA considered that, within the context of the ad, viewers would interpret the footage of several individuals throwing their phones into the air, before collecting them from the ground, and looking relieved upon checking their phones for damage, to mean that the phones had not incurred significant physical or internal damage. We further considered that one of the featured individuals in the ad who said, “I can’t believe it” when assessing his phone, along with the shot of an individual using his phone, after their respective phones had been dropped, also reinforced that impression. Furthermore, because the ad demonstrated an unrealistic scenario of several phones being thrown into the air, we considered the ad implied that, by using a Mous phone case, any phone would be able to sustain more of an impact than a consumer would likely need.

We assessed the evidence provided by the advertiser. We first examined the ad and corresponding test result data. We understood that of the 50 participants in the ad, the majority of the cast were comprised of Mous employees, friends and family, apart from three paid actors. We considered that, because of the participants involved and their association with Mous, that the test was not conducted independently and the footage shown in the ad did not represent an objective study of any damage incurred. We acknowledged that the test results referenced external damage to both the screen and rear exterior casing, camera and power/volume buttons, and whether those functions were still usable. However, we noted that the phone had not been disassembled to assess for internal damage, which we considered would affect the functionality of a phone. Because the test did not assess for internal damage we did not consider that the data provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the phones had not been significantly damaged when dropped from being thrown into the air.

We then assessed the three drop test reports provided for three different Mous phone cases. The first report contained before and after photos of the case. We noted the testing had not been completed by using a phone and the report only related to damage sustained by the phone case itself. We therefore considered that the report was not relevant in substantiating claims about preventing damage to phones, as seen in the ad.

We then examined the second and third reports. The test in both reports comprised of 26 drops onto a surface of marble backed by concrete from a height of 120 cm and both had the same acceptance threshold specifying that the phone should perform correctly with minimum aesthetic damage. Both reports also contained before and after images of the phone cases and phone. We acknowledged that both reports indicated that the phones continued to function after being dropped and that the cases were recorded as having sufficiently ‘passed’ the drop tests.

However, we noted that the height of the drop tests was significantly lower than had been shown in the ad, and as such, regardless of any results demonstrating that the cases had prevented damage from occurring, we did not consider the reports were sufficient to substantiate that the cases could protect a phone from falls that were higher than 120cm. Furthermore, we noted that the two reports were inconsistent in terms of the level of detail provided regarding the test criteria and damage sustained to the phone during the test. The second report contained images of the testing process showing each drop starting position, which we considered did not sufficiently demonstrate that the phone continued to function after having been dropped. The third report provided a description of the phone inspection results relating to the physical condition and working functionality of the phone post-test. We acknowledged that the report demonstrated that the phone had been checked for some level of internal damage. However, we considered that certain criteria which would contribute to a phone’s ability to function fully, such as its vibration features, Bluetooth connection, microphone, Face and Touch ID recognition and Near Field Communication (NFC) for mobile payments, had not been tested. We therefore considered that the report was also not sufficient to substantiate that the phone in a Mous phone case continued to function fully after being dropped. Because it was not clear from the reports whether they had adequately tested for all potential internal damage, plus the height from which the phones were dropped were significantly lower than that seen in the ad, we considered they were not sufficient to substantiate that a Mous phone case would protect any phone from more of an impact than a consumer would likely need, as implied by the ad. Therefore, we concluded the ad exaggerated the efficacy of the product and was misleading.

The ad breached BCAP rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.9 (Substantiation) and 3.12 (Exaggeration).


The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Mous Products Ltd t/a Mous not to exaggerate the efficacy of their products and to ensure they held test data that supported their claims.


3.1     3.12     3.9    

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