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ASA Slaps Bulldog Over 4Mbps Advert

Posted: 20th Jul, 2005 By: MarkJ
Once again the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against a radio advert for Bulldog's 4Mbps broadband ADSL service. This represents the ISP’s third upheld ASA complaint inside a single month, with TWO others being noted on July 6th:

A radio advertisement for Bulldog Broadband Internet service featured a make-believe boxing match. A voiceover announced “In the red corner we have standard broadband and in the blue corner we have Bulldog 4 Meg heavyweight broadband. Seconds out, round one.” A second voice said “Heavyweight Bulldog is straight in there, no waiting around. Standard Broadband doesn’t stand a chance!” A different voice then said “Bulldog’s knockout broadband starts at a featherweight £10.50 a month. For more information, text Bulldog to 81156. Limited Availability. Visit bulldogbroadband.com for details. Offer available till 31 May. Conditions apply.”

A listener complained that the £10.50 a month service was limited to only eight hours online time, after which a further hourly charge of £1.50 would be applied and believed this should have been stated in the advertisement.

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The Authority accepted that the advertisement made clear that £10.50 a month was the price Bulldog Broadband packages started at and that, by saying it was "straight in there" the comparison shown was focused on the speed of service rather than cost. We also noted that listeners were invited to seek further information from the website or a text service which would have made clear the terms and conditions of the £10.50 package before any purchase took place. However, all important limitations and qualifications to an offer should be made clear in the advertising.

We disagreed that the advertisement made 4 a clear comparison between the Bulldog service and other limited standard broadband services as we considered a time-based restriction was significantly different to a download cap. Although we recognised that the advertisement did not imply it was an unlimited service, we considered a time-based limitation of only eight hours online usage a month, plus the additional charges of £1.50 per hour after the initial eight hours, were significant conditions which should have been made clear in the advertisement. We further believed it was unfair to compare the advertisers 4 Meg broadband service to other standard broadband services without stating those conditions.


Typically the complaint relates to an older advertisement and consequently can not factor in present difficulties, which would make some of the wording even more unrealistic.
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