The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has rejected an attempt by TalkTalk to have a rival TV advert for the BTInfinity (FTTC) superfast broadband service pulled. The ISP accused BT’s promotion of “misleadingly” implying that fibre optic broadband services were only available from BT.
The advert is probably quite familiar to most people and depicts two students, one male and one female, going to view rooms at a flat share. Towards the end of this advert one of the students, leaning towards the BTInfinity home hub, says, “Thanks fibre optic technology.” Immediately afterwards a voice-over stated, “Four times faster than average broadband: Infinity, only from BT.”
However BT countered that the only reference to fibre optic broadband technology was as part of a light-hearted dialogue between the characters and claimed that it did not form part of the Infinity campaign taglines. Clearcast, the advertising company, endorsed BT’s response and “did not believe that the ad was misleading“.
We considered that viewers would understand that “Infinity” was the name of the BT broadband product and that the claim “Only from BT” related to this product, not to fibre optic technology generally. Because we did not consider that viewers would infer from the ad that fibre optic technology was only available from BT we concluded that the ad was not misleading.
The situation could perhaps represent another example of just how trivial the battle for customers has become, with the ASA frequently being used as a weapon of limited effectiveness by almost all of the major ISPs. On the other hand it’s good to see that ISPs are keeping such a close eye on their competitors and raising concerns where necessary.
Meanwhile BT has been told that its advert can continue unabated.