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UPDATE BT Get Sky’s Misleading “BEST EVER Broadband” Advert Banned

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 (7:43 am) - Score 1,200
sky broadband uk

The tit-for-tat ISP advertising wars appear to be continuing after BT succeeded in getting the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to ban a national press advert for Sky Broadband’s service, which apparently misled the public by claiming to be Sky’s “BEST EVER broadband offer“.

The advert was a reference to Sky’s recent Sky Sports TV and 2 years free broadband bundle. The package itself was naturally intended to counter BT’s own offer of free Sport TV content with broadband, hence the rivalry.

BT complained that Sky had previously promoted better offers and challenged whether the claim “Our BEST EVER broadband offer” was misleading. The ASA agreed.

ASA Ruling (Ref: A14-277363)

We considered that the claim “Our BEST EVER broadband” would generally be interpreted as a comparison with Sky’s previous broadband offerings and consumers would understand that if they took the current offer, they would not have previously been able to receive a better overall deal. However, we understood that a previous ad from Sky stated “Our BEST EVER broadband offer” with the headline “£100 reward when you join Sky TV online” whereas the current ad offered a £50 reward. We considered that consumers would infer that the reward, as an incentive to take up the package, was part of the offer and overall package.

Because Sky’s overall package that included 2 years unlimited broadband had previously been offered with a higher reward price, we concluded that the claim “Our BEST EVER broadband offer” in this context had not been substantiated and was likely to mislead.

As usual the ASA banned the advert and warned Sky to ensure their “best ever” claims were not undermined by previous offers. No doubt Sky will eventually find a few nits to pick with BT’s promotions in order to settle the score.

UPDATE 8:26am

Oddly we’ve had a comment on this rather small advertising issue from law firm Browne Jacobson, which is not something we’ve ever received before. Make of this what you will.

Alex Watt, Ad and Marketing Issues for Browne Jacobson, said:

Of particular interest in this case is the fact that the ASA are policing use of the word “best” ever more carefully. Whilst it is still possible that an advertiser may use “best” in a way that denotes it considers that a product is the best in its subjective opinion, such use must be clearly puffery. It is not sufficient that an advertiser is referring to its own promotions; if the statement about those promotions is clearly an objective one it must still be accurate – and if the statement is that the promotion is the “best” of its offers – then it must literally be the best of its offers.”

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Avatar GNewton

    Bear in mind that this is the same ASA who doesn’t even know what ‘fibre broadband’ is, leading to a culture where people are made to believe that fibre comes down a coax-copper or twisted-pair copper!

    • Avatar finaldest

      could not agree more. ASA are useless.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      But “fibre broadband” isn’t anything it beyond a marketing name, look for an actual definition there isn’t one.

    • Avatar Chris Evans

      It’s a stupid marketing term – I’m surprised ISPs are not labelling ADSL as “Fibre Broadband”… technically it’s not really any less fibre than FTTC – The DSLAM/MSAN still connects to the Fibre Backhaul, same as FTTC.

      ASA are stupid. Fibre Broadband should be Broadband delivered only on a fibre medium.
      It’s like saying “Fly to Toronto today on Concorde and get there faster”… and then the last 200 mile leg of the trip is on an old coach taking 4 hours.

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