The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned PlusNet’s recent Yorkshire-themed TV advert for its half price broadband offer (“All broadband’s half off“) after several viewers complained that the discount was, contrary to the promotional wording, not available to everybody.
In the first instance PlusNet’s initial advert claimed that its promotion was available to “New customers only“, which the ASA said “contradicted” the impression that everyone could benefit from the offer. The ISP later clarified the ad by removing the aforementioned wording but the ASA decided that it was still “misleading“.
Meanwhile the second upheld complaint noted that the half price broadband offer was available only when customers also took line rental from PlusNet, which appeared to contradict some of the adverts broader claims.
We considered, however, particularly given that the ad emphasised that “All broadband’s [sic] half off” and included claims such as “everyone’s a winner”, “There’s even half off unlimited broadband. You can get it from just four ninety nine a month … you can get it from under a fiver a month” and “don’t miss out, get unlimited broadband half off from just four ninety nine a month …”, the text “with £13.99 monthly line rental” was likely to be interpreted to mean that was the price of line rental for consumers who chose to take it, rather than that the offer was available only to those who paid £13.99 per month for line rental.
We considered that was a significant condition of the promotion that was not made sufficiently clear and that the word “with” was not sufficient to counteract the overall impression of the ad, which was that all broadband was half price. On balance, we therefore concluded that the ad was misleading.
As usual the ASA banned PlusNet’s advert and told the ISP to ensure that any “significant conditions of promotions were [made] clear in future and that qualifications accurately reflected the availability of such promotions“.
Happily we don’t often see PlusNet cropping up in the ASA’s weekly hit list so today is somewhat of a rarity.
Added a comment from PlusNet.
A PlusNet Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:
“Our recent ‘Half Off’ ad has not been on air since the 7th February 2013, in-line with our original scheduling plans for the campaign, it was not taken down as a direct result of a complaint.
We can confirm that we did receive a small amount of negative feedback regarding the clarity of some aspects of the ad and, as a result, changes were made whilst it was still on air.
As is always the case with our ads, the script and visuals were put through rigorous checks with our in-house legal teams and with external governing bodies. However, in hindsight, we do accept that some aspects of the ad were not as transparent as they could have been.
We have no plans to re-use this ad and all feedback received will be fed into our latest campaign in order to avoid confusion for customers going forward.”