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ASA Bans Sky UK Advert for “Lowest Priced” Broadband Claim

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020 (7:19 am) - Score 3,237
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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a TV advert for ISP Sky Broadband after it was found to have misleadingly claimed to offer “the UK’s lowest priced superfast broadband” service, which was not substantiated by the limited comparison.

The promotion itself stemmed from the provider’s January 2020 sale, which included a voiceover that said: “Save big on the UK’s lowest priced superfast broadband, with WiFi Guarantee or money back,” but they only included a single comparison with BT’s service and their related Complete WiFi product.

Sky argued that their “lowest price” claim was intended to reflect the combination of both the superfast broadband package and its related WiFi Guarantee. Indeed they noted that “at no point in the ad was Superfast broadband referenced without also referring to the WiFi guarantee.”

However, the ASA disagreed, not least by highlighting how the presentation of Sky’s ad would have resulted in viewers reading “lowest price” as a separate claim, which was thus poorly substantiated.

ASA Ruling (REF:A20-1050417 Sky UK Ltd)

We considered that the use of staggered messaging at such a pace made it difficult to follow, and the voice-over’s intonation after having stated, “The UK’s lowest price Superfast broadband” suggested a pause between the claim and the information that followed. We therefore considered that consumers would understand that “WiFi Guarantee or money back” was a feature of the product, but that Sky were separately claiming to offer the UK’s lowest-priced superfast broadband.

We understood that the comparison related only to the superfast broadband products available on the market which offered a guarantee of a certain speed of WiFi in every room of a home or money-back on the subscription if that was not achieved. However, for the reasons stated above, we did not consider that to have been made clear in the ad, and while we recognised that the superimposed text remained on display throughout the ad and stated “Compared to BT standard price for Superfast Broadband + Complete WiFi”, we did not consider that to override the impression created that Sky were offering the UK’s lowest price broadband overall, particularly given that consumers’ attention was drawn to the main on-screen text through the manner by which it flew on and off screen.

As usual the ASA banned the promotion and told Sky to ensure that they “did not misleadingly imply that they offered the UK’s lowest-priced superfast broadband if that was not the case.” Admittedly this won’t make much of a difference now as the January SALE promotion has long since ended.

At least Sky can take some comfort from the fact that they aren’t the only ISP to see a promotion related to their WiFi guarantee being banned. BT recently saw a similar promotion for their own service being pulled, albeit for the different reason of misleadingly claiming that “only we guarantee wi-fi in every room” (here).

Leave a Comment
9 Responses
  1. Avatar André says:

    They banned in May the adverts for a promotion that ran in January?

    Yeah, that’ll teach Sky…

  2. Avatar Albeit Kevin says:

    *Face palm* That’s the ASA for you – another great British institution… embarrassment.

    1. Avatar GNewton says:

      It’s the same ASA that has actively promoted copper as “fibre broadband”. ASA is not doing a proper job.

  3. Avatar Michael V says:

    No ISP should give the impression that they’ll have WiFi coverage in every room of their property.

    Anyway, at least they were told the add was misleading. They should do a better job next time.

    1. Avatar James says:

      To me an ISP has the job to deliver internet to the house and the consumer to distribute it.

      This might be me being old school but hayho

      Yes they provide modem/router combos now to get you started. But they shouldn’t need to do much else than that.

      Hence the name internet service provider and not WiFi provider

      I however like the way BT is offering at extra cost a mesh system.

    2. Avatar James Band says:

      @James

      True, however some of the Wifi claims of the ISPs are off. Sky seem to only guarantee 3Mbps via Wifi which I need not tell you is woeful in the age of FTTP. BT though are here and there.

      BT claims they will guarantee the fastest Wifi speeds (versus Sky for instance), but when you read the finer print – that guarantee is only up to 10Mbps. Even the “Complete Wifi” product as an “extra” for the Ultrafast products (with speeds from 100 to 900Mbps) offers the same guarantee of 10Mbps wifi.

      If BT offered their “BT Premium Wifi” product with the dedicated backhaul band, it might be a better proposition (so as to better get close to the line speed via wifi).

      Would also be interesting to see someone like BT offering external wired backhaul to a few rooms for a Wired backhaul Mesh system (e.g. you can pay for the wiring to be done externally at the same time as Fibre installation and then customer decides whether to purchase their own Mesh system, or pay a monthly fee for BT’s mesh product).

  4. Avatar Maxine Collins says:

    Will my money be low

  5. Avatar isp employee says:

    I agree James but when you work in these companies and have to deal with customers that doesn’t matter, customers see internet or broadband as the whole package. it doesn’t matter if they life in a studio flat or a 5 bed house with lead lined walls if you aren’t giving them wifi in every room your ripping them off. when you then tell them to get wifi everywhere they have to pay extra that’s when it really hits the fan.

  6. Avatar AJT says:

    James, you hit the nail on the head with your comment but the general public don’t seem to know the difference between WiFi and broadband.

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