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Sky Broadband TV Advert Banned for Misleading “lowest priced fibre” Claim

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017 (7:53 am) - Score 1,620
sky broadband uk lowest priced fibre advert batman

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a major TV advert for Sky Broadband, which featured Lego Batman, after it misleadingly claimed to offer the “UK’s lowest priced fibre including line rental” and also featured on-screen text that “did not present the qualifications clearly.”

The promotion itself, which aired during February 2017, featured the character Lego Batman. The voice-over said, “Super-fast Sky Fibre … It’s the UK’s lowest priced fibre including line rental. And even better it’s an exclusive deal for our TV customers. Add just £20 a month for 18 months.” Meanwhile some small-print at the bottom included a link to a price comparison and noted that the package had a 25GB usage allowance, among other things

However several people complained that they struggled to read the on-screen text (small-print) and another person questioned whether Sky Broadband really did offer the “UK’s lowest priced fibre,” not least because their package featured a 25GB usage cap and yet only 2 of the 32 other products compared to Sky’s basic fibre service had usage caps.

The ASA upheld both complaints and agreed that Sky’s on-screen text “did not present the qualifications clearly” because it appeared on a very light background and the shadow surrounding the text did not make it sufficiently distinctive. On top of that the rapidly moving images and colour changes of the advert itself were very distracting. As for Sky’s “lowest priced” claim..

ASA Ruling (REF: A17-380148)

Sky’s product had a monthly data usage cap of 25GB, while 30 of the 32 comparator fibre products offered unlimited broadband. We considered that the products generally met the same needs and purpose, as they were all broadband products.

However, we considered that consumers would regard a capped broadband product as materially different (and inferior) to an unlimited broadband product, and therefore that was a significant limitation that needed to be made clear in the ad.

While the ad had included a qualification in the small print, which stated the product advertised was a capped product, the qualification did not reference the fact that nearly all the comparator products offered unlimited broadband.

As usual both ads were banned and Sky was also told to “ensure significant qualifications were clearly presented in their advertising.” The ruling reminds ISPs that they should also be paying close attention to the wider value proposition of what they’re offering, particularly when making a bold claim about price.

At the time of writing the Sky Broadband page on Sky’s website continues to make the same “UK’s LOWEST PRICED FIBRE” claim for their 25GB capped package.

Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Avatar Billy

    So the best course of action is to have an advertising campaign that runs for a month to 6 weeks, features lots of colourful cartoons to engage the kids and lies blatantly about the product advertised; Knowing full well that after the campaign is over, enough Mary Whitehouse wannabes will have complained to the ASA so you get a second round of advertising for no cost at all. There is no such thing as bad publicity after all.
    The ASA should issue a huge fine instead of a stiff talking to, so that advertisers are far more careful with the misrepresentation and illegible small print in the future.

  2. Avatar RuralBroadbandSucks

    If someone purchased this package, can then change to a different provider before the typical 12-18 month lock in given the ASA ruling, or does contract you sign with them negate this? If you cannot easily get out of it, then I agree that they should definitely be fined.
    On a similar note, has there ever been a publicised complaint to, or ruling from ASA on the BT/Openreach ‘Fibre Broadband is here’ labels on the cabinets? To me, this is false marketing of their products and capabilities, and that would infer that households or anyone connected to that cabinet can get it.

  3. Avatar Ultraspeedy

    Whoever complained did them a favour the new ads are quite funny.

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