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BT Ryan Reynolds adverts banned for being misleading

Three BT adverts have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) because they claimed the telecommunications company has ‘the fastest fibre speeds as standard’.

The adverts were taken off air because the ASA said cheaper and faster services could be found elsewhere. Virgin Media was responsible for the complaint to the advertising watchdog, which prompted the investigation.

“We noted the major broadband providers against whom BT had compared its service all advertised a slower maximum speed for its cheapest option,” the ASA said in a statement.

It continued: “However, we understood there were other provides on the market whose cheapest, or only, service options advertised faster maximum speeds than 52Mbps – in some cases significantly so.

“We therefore considered that, given the likely interpretation of the claim, ‘fastest fibre speeds as standard’ had not been adequately substantiated. In light of the above factors, we concluded the ads were misleading and breached the codes.”

The advert for the campaign first aired on the 16th of April, 2016 and were designed to showcase the new faster speeds of BT Infinity. The same 52Mbps claim was made on the BT website six days later.

In an official statement, BT said: “This complaint was upheld on a minor technicality relating to the exclusion of niche broadband providers whose products are only available on a limited basis in specific geographical locations, and not the vast majority of the population (like BT Infinity).

BT argued it was comparing standard entry-level ‘up to Mbps’ broadband services, including those of Sky Fibre, TalkTalk and Plusnet, which offer up to 38Mbps and has since offered to amend the adverts in light of the ASA’s request to make it clearer what was meant.

The adverts feature Reynolds as he parodies the advertising process in a ‘behind the scenes’ setting. BT Consumer marketing director Dan Ramsay said of the marketing campaign when it was launched: “We hope viewers enjoy watching Ryan showing just how fast BT Infinity is in our latest ‘Behind the Scenes’ advert.”

“We wanted to showcase our new up to 52Mb BT Infinity product is now the fastest standard fibre service. We understand that speed really matters to our customers and wanted to reflect this in an amusing and entertaining way,” he added.

Consumer publication Which said the rules around broadband advertising need to “tighten up” so customers know the advertised speed is what they actually get.