Three adverts from British Telecommunications, one of the leading communications companies have been banned from TV screens after containing misleading and possibly false information. The adverts claimed that BT have better features than their rivals, but unfortunately failed to back up the claims with any real evidence, and the ASA (Advertising Standards Agency) are onto them big time. In an embarrassing response to their adverts, the independent advertising regulator has ordered BT to take these adverts down from screening in their current form, unless the claims can be backed up by test results.
BT’s three new (ish) adverts (first appearing in October) all tempt the consumer by claiming that BT’s fibre optic broadband has faster download speeds than Sky, and also offers a more responsive online gaming and smoother video than Virgin Media. The adverts have no doubt become popular for their humour, featuring comedy actress Rebel Wilson, but their potentially false claims mean they can no longer be aired on television. Seemingly choosing to rise above it, Virgin media didn’t have anything to say about the claims made against it, and it was only when a customer revealed that there was ‘no difference in their user experience’ that the investigation began. Sky, on the other hand, did have a bit more to say, hitting out at BT’s assumption that they had faster download speeds than them.
In an attempt to defend their ads BT spoke of its latest infinity 2 service, with ASA claiming they said they ‘provided faster upload speeds than Virgin Media and BT Infinity 2 was unbeatable against Virgin Media for latency, downstream jitter and packet loss.’ The ASA were still not convinced, and it seems their minds have been made up; ‘we told BT not to repeat the claims in the ads unless they held documentary evidence to substantiate them and made available sufficient information about their methodology and data for verification.’
The first advert to raise alarm bells features a man catching flies with chopsticks. An actress says ‘check out this guy – he’s super responsive. But he’s not a patch on BT Infinity’s super responsiveness when you’re online gaming.’ All seems to be innocent, fair point well made, until a voiceover guy adds; ‘BT Infinity fibre optic Broadband offers more responsive gaming than Virgin Media’. Ouch.
The ASA has admitted it is have a ‘major crackdown’ on false and misleading price claims from broadband providers, which are as a result tricking millions of customers into unnecessarily paying more for a certain deal. In a report conducted in January it found that the vast majority of customers are confused about prices for broadband. It worryingly found that just 23pc of participants could correctly identify the total cost per month after viewing adverts once. A broadband instalment is probably essential in every UK home in this day and age, so please BT, stop confusing us.