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“£22bn gorilla in puppy’s clothing”: BSkyB accuses rival BT of double standards in advertising row


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

April 13, 2013 | 2 min read

BskyB has launched a scathing attack on BT as the battle over advertising heats up.

This week BT publically criticised BSkyB for refusing to air a multimillion pound ad campaign for BT’s Premier League coverage, while BSkyB responded with claims BT had been doing the same to Sky adverts for years.

John Petter, managing director of BT’s retail division, accused BSkyB of behaving “like a rottweiler running away from a new born puppy”.

Petter said: “BT is happy to take Sky’s advertising but they seem afraid of taking ours."

Meanwhile, Graham McWilliam, BSkyB’s group director of corporate affairs, issued an open letter saying BT had “blacklisted” certain Sky adverts for years.

He said: “Instead of complaining, we got on with building a successful broadband business. BT, in contrast, has taken the well worn path to Ofcom’s door and compared itself to ‘a newborn puppy’. Before honing its soundbites, or filing yet another complaint, this £22bn gorilla in puppy’s clothing would do well to look at its own double standards.”

BT has filed a complaint to Ofcom in an attempt to force BSkyB to show BT sports adverts on its sports channels. BSkyB has said it will air adverts for BT’s sports services on its non-sporting channels, and will advertise other BT services on Sky Sports, but will not air ads for BT sport coverage on its sports channels.

McWilliam said that “this is perfectly reasonable given the billions that we have invested to build our brand. As one media buyer has observed, it would be a ‘bit like Tesco being able to advertise inside Sainsbury’s’."

Last night BT said: “Sky’s comments today are rather surprising given that they themselves have in the past complained to regulators, when ITV refused at one point to take Sky ads. We can only presume that our friends at Sky are rattled, and that they recall their own complaint was upheld.”

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