THE UNITED KINGDOM Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has censored a communications firm for exaggerations in an advert.
It's rather common that a punter or rival company complains about something in a telecoms ad. We imagine that the ASA department that deals with these complaints gets through a lot of coffee.
Today we understand that the ASA has delivered its ruling on a complaint raised by an individual who apparently knows more about telecoms than a telecoms firm's marketing and legal departments.
The ASA described the British Telecom (BT) ad as showing a variety of things including radios, mobile phones and "household devices" and accompanying them with advice that "no end of things around the home can disrupt your wireless signal".
There then followed the suggestion that this can be avoided through the use of the new BT Home Hub, which is underlined with the statement, "Signal avoids interference from non-WiFi devices".
In a complaint to the ASA someone questioned if the ad was misleading because he understood that such devices did not cause significant interference.
The ASA took this to BT, which pulled up some Ofcom research from 2009 that said some things do cause some interference.
The ASA considered this, and considered the sort of examples that BT was using in its advert. It found that it could not support what it was seeing.
"We were concerned that the ad prominently featured a ringing mobile phone, when using such a device for telephone calls would not cause interference of the kind described. We further noted that the ad also featured images of radios, which Ofcom had also advised did not pose a particular problem in terms of interference," it said as it delivered its ruling that the ad should never be shown like that again.
"Whilst we acknowledged that the evidence supplied by BT showed that some non-WiFi household devices could potentially affect the performance of WiFi devices, we considered that the inclusion of images of mobile phones and radios implied that consumers who had those items in their homes may experience problems due to interference when we had not seen any evidence to that effect."
BT has taken this on board and said that it will cease placing adverts on television without properly considering their impact.
"The ASA found that the advert was clear that certain household devices can cause interference with WiFi but they considered that the items chosen to illustrate this were not the ones most likely to cause an issue," it said in a statement.
"We are reviewing our legal sign off processes to ensure that creative visuals accurately reflect our substantiation in future TV ads." µ
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