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Sky ad banned for claims that its broadband is 'super reliable'

Wednesday, July 19th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

An ad encouraging people to “switch to super reliable Sky broadband” has been banned.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said Sky did not have enough evidence to back up its claims and the ad was therefore likely to mislead consumers.

The TV ad was shown in July last year and featured an animated dog from the movie Secret Life of Pets struggling to stream a music video because of poor broadband.

It was investigated by the ASA following a complaint by Virgin Media, which questioned whether Sky’s claim that its broadband was “super reliable” could be substantiated.

Sky said it intended the claim to mean that both its fibre and non-fibre broadband packages were very reliable and could be trusted to work well.

But it did not think the claims would be understood to be a comparison with the reliability of other providers.

The ASA disagreed: “We considered that in the context of an ad which showed an example of an ‘unreliable’ broadband service and encouraged viewers to ‘switch’ to Sky’s ‘super reliable’ service, viewers were likely to interpret the claim as a comparison with other broadband providers – that Sky’s ‘super reliable’ service was more reliable than that of its competitors.

“We expected to see evidence which showed that all of Sky’s broadband packages delivered, on balance, a more consistent connection than those of the comparable packages of a significant number of their competitors.”

'Trust will be lost'

The advertising watchdog said that, having reviewed Ofcom data on the reliability of broadband services, it considered Sky to deliver a similarly consistent connection to its competitors – but not a more consistent one.

It also said the ‘Super Reliable Sky Broadband’ claim was misleading “as it implied that all Sky broadband packages were ‘super reliable’ when that was not the case for Sky’s ADSL2+ [non-fibre] package”.

Last month, the ASA banned an ad in which BT claimed its router had the “UK’s most powerful wi-fi signal”.

The ad, which saw actor Ryan Reynolds dangle from the bottom of a helicopter, suggested that BT’s Smart Hub provided a stronger signal that routers from any other provider. It attracted complaints from Virgin Media, Sky and TalkTalk.

Advertising lecturer Neil Kelley previously told Cable.co.uk the tit-for-tat advertising battle between broadband providers would eventually destroy consumer trust.

He said: “There will be the shift that basically the more consumers see about each of these misleading the consumer, everybody will be tarred with the same brush and the trust in the communications from the whole sector will be lost.

“And ultimately there will come a point where that happens and then they will change their strategy in relation to advertising to try and regain that trust in the future.”

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