Spark in the doghouse over ad campaign
Spark has been collared for using the work of popular meme-maker WeRateDogs in a social media advertising campaign.
WeRateDogs, which has more than 2 million followers on Twitter, growled after several humourously-labelled dog photos appeared in a Spark advert on Facebook promoting the company's mobile data plans.
Spark spokesman Richard Llewellyn said Spark didn't know if there was "a legal copyright issue" but had made a mistake over its use of the photos and apologised to WeRateDogs.
"We like their work," he said.
Spark had taken down its advertisement, which had only appeared on social media, Llewellyn said.
"Sharing photos of dogs on social media has been popular for a long time, we felt our new data-only 'data lovers' plans really tied into that, so we wanted to have a bit of social media fun with it.
"But we clearly got a bit carried away using a popular meme."
The good thing was WeRateDogs had forgiven Spark, he added.
The dog photos themselves were "stock images", Llewellyn clarified.
It is a while since Spark last found itself in hot water over breaching social media protocols.
In 2006, retail subsidiary Ferrit was flamed after it was discovered that staff had written positive user-reviews of luxury toasters that were sold on its website.