It's Hoppy Christmas from Crazy Frog
By Stephen Brook
A Christmas version of Crazy Frog is about to a-ding-ding-ding-ding its way into
the nation's consciousness just in time for the festive season.
The Christmas Crazy Frog will be available in the next few days as a ringtone
and is also likely to challenge for the Christmas number one spot in the singles
But there will be no repeat of the infamous Crazy Frog advertising bombardment
in May, when the original infuriating TV ad for the frog's version of Axel F was
screened 40,000 times, helping to keep Coldplay from number one.
"I don't believe that's going to happen again," said Markus Berger-de León, the
managing director of Jamba!, the German company that owns the rights to the
original Crazy Frog ringtone and its new Christmas version.
The company, which trades in Britain as Jamster! and is owned by US technology
firm VeriSign, cannot repeat its advertising blitz because airtime in December
is already heavily booked, in contrast to the quieter month of May.
"I have seen the photograph - there's lots of snow around him," said Mr
Berger-de León, adding that the new ringtone and song would be released in the
next ten days.
Back in May, Jamba! upped the frequency of the Axel F ads when its measurement
technology showed a high number of people signed up for the Crazy Frog ringtone
each time the advert was shown.
"We can track every single advertisement. The fact that we were showing it so
many times was our response to the high, high demand out there," Mr Berger-de
The Advertising Standards Authority received 800 complaints, but was unable to
rule on the frequency of the Crazy Frog ads as this was outside its powers.
However, when it became clear that many customers were unaware that Jamba! was
promoting a subscription service it banned the adverts until after 9pm.
The company reacted to the ruling by launching two products to protect children
from excessive phone bills.
Jamster! first limits the amount of money spent on its products to £6 a month,
while Jamster! Guardian blocks downloads to specific mobile phone numbers.
"One of the things we repeatedly hear, especially from parents, is 'I want to be
in control,'" Mr Berger-de León said.
The company appealed against the ASA ruling and the matter is in the hands of
the independent reviewer of ASA adjudications, Sir John Caines.
It is unknown if Sir John will rule on the appeal before the Christmas Crazy
Frog song and ringtone is released.
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