A shameful showcase of misleading advertising from the UK’s TV and broadband providers kicked off 2014 for advertising watchdogs.
Late 2013 ads and marketing from AOL, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin and YouView all came under fire for exaggerating their own features or unfairly attacking their rivals.
BT – which has healthy bad-ads file of its own – was the only big broadband or pay-TV player to escape censure in the Advertising Standards Authority’s New Year salvo.
Taking the bulletins of promotional perjury (the non-criminal variety) in alphabetical order:
After a complaint by BT, AOL (now owned by TalkTalk) was slapped for a misleading advert which attempted to show it was cheaper than its competitors, but left out key features of BT Broadband, including the performance and capability of the latest BT Home Hub, Smart Talk via their mobile phone’s WiFi, and the inclusive BT Sport channels.
Sky was criticised for making only small changes before it repeated a direct mail booklet which had already been banned for misleadingly exaggerating the effect of Virgin Media’s traffic management policy on broadband speeds.
TalkTalk took a hit for running the same misleading table of comparisons with BT’s broadband services which was used by its subsidiary, AOL.
Two public complaints brought Virgin Media under fire once again for mailouts which falsely claimed that its broadband and TV were available to the majority of homes in their local area.
YouView was criticised after a complaint from Sky, for an ad with three bad claims – a suggestion that movies were free on YouView, failing to make it clear that YouView needs a set-top box, and failing to make the cost of the YouView box clear.
Two out of these five claims are repeat offences, so here at Recombu we confidently look forward to another year of mendacious marketing from the UK broadband and TV business.