A campaign for Sky broadband has been banned by regulators for claiming to offer consumers 'super reliable' broadband.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has given Sky a slap on the wrists for the press and TV ads following a complaint from Sky competitor Virgin, which challenged whether the assertions made in the spots were misleading.
The TV campaign in question featured characters from Disney animation, The Secret Life of Pets. An animated dog, Gidget, is depicted inviting the other characters to dance, she then puts on a music video before the broadband splutters and the video buffers to a halt. Another character interrupts, exclaiming: “You need Sky broadband... It’ll keep you dancing all night long," before a voiceover and on-screen text both implored viewers to switch to Sky's 'super reliable' service.
An accompanying print ad included the same claim.
Sky claimed that it believed consumers would understand the claims that its broadband service was 'super reliable' to mean that the service was very reliable and could be trusted to work well. It pointed to data from Ofcom's recent broadband performance report as proof that Sky broadband equipped customers with a "lower measure of jitter" indicating the internet connection it provided was more stable that than some other providers.
The watchdog disagreed, saying that viewers and readers would understand the claims in the ads to represent general truths about the overall reliability of all of Sky's broadband packages. It said Virgin had issues with the Ofcom report referenced by Sky, because it believed the report might not include all relevant data for a fair comparison.
In relation to the TV spot, the ASA said that the Ofcom data demonstrated that Sky’s broadband packages delivered a "similarly consistent connection" to the comparative packages of its rivals, but did not deliver a more consistent connection. It said Sky didn't hold evidence to back either ad's claim that it provided 'super reliable' broadband.
The spot, which first ran last year, has been barred from being shown again. The ruling follows on from a recent ad ban handed by the ASA to a Ryan Reynolds-fronted BT spot following dozens of complaints.