UAE | Media

Expat prank-called after phone number appears in Samsung advert

Mobile giant says UAE number was not in use before Galaxy S4 Zoom ad ran

  • By Faisal Masudi, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 July 27, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
  • The number on the ad of Samsung S4 is owned by an expatriate from Bangadesh living in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi: A Bangladeshi expat said he has been receiving prank calls after his mobile phone number appeared as the mock number in an ad for a new Samsung handset.

Noor-ul-Islam, a driver for a family in Abu Dhabi, said he receives one or two calls a day asking for “Omar,” the name of the caller in the Galaxy S4 Zoom ad.

The ad has been running for weeks in UAE newspapers, magazines and outdoor signs.

The number, displayed on the incoming call screen featured in the ad, is in use by Noor-ul-Islam.

A Samsung official told Gulf News the number was tested and “did not exist” before the ad ran, adding they have apologised for any inconvenience.

“Almost daily teenagers call me: ‘Hi, Omar!’ or ‘How’s it going, Omar?’” said Noor-ul-Islam.

“It’s ok, no problem. I’m not angry, it’s just a simple mistake. And I know the kids are just playing around. I say ‘hi’ back and tell them it’s not Omar. They hang up or I hang up after that. Each time it’s a different caller, mostly teens.”

The father-of-three added that he is yet to see the ad.

Noor-ul-Islam said has been using the number for three years, given to him by a member of the family he works for, he said.

Meanwhile, the creative for any future ads have been amended, said Hayssam Yassine, head of telecommunications group at Samsung Gulf Electronics.

“It has been brought to our attention that the GALAXY S4 Zoom advertisement currently running across the UAE features an active telephone number of someone based in the UAE,” he said in a statement.

“When developing advertisements where a mock telephone number is featured, to the best of our knowledge, we ensure that these numbers are out of use.

“Before the advertisement was approved we tested the number and found that the number did not exist. Upon finding out that the number is now in use, we have been in contact with the individual and apologised for the inconvenience caused.

“We have also amended the creative for any advertisements that we may use in the future.”

Comments (8)

  1. Added 16:08 July 27, 2013

    I totally agree with the comments here. The error is very unprofessional and could easily have been avoided by calling the phone carriers in the UAE to double check the number. I too hope that the poor guy is being compensated for his time and inconvenience. Everyone knows how annoying this must have been.

    mathilda, dubai, Denmark

  2. Added 15:55 July 27, 2013

    You could have bought a dedicated SIM for AED 20 rather than testing and then apologizing.

    Nadeem, Ahmed, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 13:55 July 27, 2013

    Samsung is not just a cheap brand rather it is a worldwide brand and for its good name it should be properly taking care of, in the end it is solely for the Samsung middle east responsiblity and not the ad agency as they are the last department to approved prior to its release. Its very easy to contact DU and ETISALAT as to whether or not the number is still in their system...

    vince, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 13:36 July 27, 2013

    I am in advertising myself and while its nice to see the owner say "its ok, its not a problem", this is still unacceptable and a joke. Not a good job by the agency. "Before the advertisement we tested the number" - you have to to be kidding me, thats a joke. What if the number was off, out of service, etc? You dont put real numbers on ads or in tv and movies in general, thats the standard around the world. I hope Samsung makes an example of whoever made this decision so it doesn't happen again. It's a very embarrassing mistake for the brand.

    HD, DXB, United States

  5. Added 12:44 July 27, 2013

    Apology is not enough. The company should compensate Noor for the inconvenience caused. In UAE consumers have rights and he should challenge the company in court if they does not compensate him.

    Saad, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 12:22 July 27, 2013

    He is nice guy or may be not aware of. otherwise he would have asked Samsung for compensation for the disturbance he is going through.

    Mohammed, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 12:02 July 27, 2013

    Why don't they test with their CEO or general Manager's mobile number? Are the public test ground for them?

    Mohammed Raffik, Dubai, United States

  8. Added 11:16 July 27, 2013

    He should be given a Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom because of all the inconvenience he is having now.

    hha, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

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