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BT TV Advert for UK “Fibre Optic Broadband” Banned for Illegible Text

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 (6:57 am) - Score 2,005

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a TV advert for BT’s superfast “fibre optic broadbandBTInfinity (FTTC) service after an individual complained that the second set of on-screen text, which contained several significant conditions, was not clearly legible.

The relevant on-screen text referenced contract terms, a breakdown of the services promotional price, usage allowances and various other details, such as one rather odd remark that doesn’t even appear to make much sense – “Online requires 40kbps speed” (did we just go back to dialup?).

Clearcast, which helps to develop and test ads for UK commercial channels, advised the ASA that the relevant on-screen text had passed their “super legibility checks” and was “in line with the relevant BCAP guidance“. The ASA disagreed.

ASA Ruling (REF: A14-265259)

We noted that Clearcast had confirmed that the ad fulfilled the requirements of the BCAP guidance on the standards that superimposed text should meet with regard to the height of text and its duration of hold on screen. However, in this case we noted that the proportions of the superimposed text made it appear compressed and difficult to read and concluded that it would not be sufficiently legible or clear to viewers.

The ASA banned the advert in its current form and told BT to ensure that the superimposed text in their ad was legible, although perhaps they should have also advised Clearcast to refine their “super legibility checks” in order to avoid similar mistakes occurring for future clients.

Leave a Comment
10 Responses
  1. Avatar col says:

    And perhaps removing the words ‘fibre optic’ from the advert would also be a good idea.

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Please refer to one of the many news items already covering that gripe to keep Mark’s db size to a minimum 😉

    2. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      At least it gives us plenty of opportunities to test out the speech marks “” key so that people know to take it with a pinch of salt :), but sadly I fear that the wider war has long since been lost to the marketers.

    3. Avatar X66yh says:

      So why don’t you make a complaint to the ASA?
      I’ve done it in the past and won

    4. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      The ASA have already allowed the use of “fibre optic” alongside hybrid-fibre products in a couple of earlier rulings. Anyway this is somewhat off-topic.

  2. Avatar col says:

    I do beg your pardon!

  3. Avatar adslmax says:

    I agree Fibre Optic should be BANNED! It’s still copper on FTTC.

  4. Avatar Raindrops says:

    If only some BT fans here wrote their dribble in tiny unreadable print

    1. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      Ditto some of the more hysterical, incoherent and often incomprehensible posters – you know who you are! 😉

    2. Avatar Raindrops says:

      Like i said can you follow your companies mantra and write in tiny unreadable text please. I on the other hand have no desire to act like a scummy company.

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