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ASA Slaps Telewest Over BB Advert

Posted: 26th Jan, 2005 By: MarkJ
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld two out of four complaints made by BT and consumers against a recent advert for Telewest's 256Kbps Internet access service.

The advert itself was essentially comparing the providers 256Kbps product to BT Broadband Basic (512Kbps). The following challenges were made:

1. Three members of the public challenged whether the comparison of the advertisers' 256kbps service with BT Broadband''s 512kbps service was misleading.

2. BT challenged whether enough prominence was given to the difference between the compared broadband packages.

3. One member of the public objected that the claim "free modem" was misleading, because it implied the advertisers' customers would be able to keep the modem.

4. Another member of the public objected that the advertisers' description of their product as "faster broadband" was misleading, because it was merely 256kbps.


Interestingly No.1 was NOT upheld, mainly because the speeds were clearly stated and the ASA believed both products to be targeted at the same audience. No.3 was NOT upheld either:

It [ASA] considered that the advertisement made clear the advertisers' broadband service was 256kbps; it concluded that the comparison compared products that met the same needs and was not misleading.

Sadly for Telewest, No.2 and 4 were both upheld, although the reasoning for upholding 2 and not 1 are very ‘nearly’ contradictive:

The Authority concluded that the advertisement was misleading because it did not make clear enough that the BT broadband service was 512 kbps and told the advertisers to state such significant conditions prominently in future.

Similarly No.4 related to the description of "faster" broadband, which was found to be a bit misleading. Full details HERE.
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