Virgin Media Get ASA to Ban Sky Broadband "Super Reliable" TV Advert Claim - ISPreview UK
A complaint by Virgin Media has prompted the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to ban a major TV and national press advert for Sky Broadband’s service after they were found to have misleading claimed that the ISP offered a “Super Reliable” broadband service.

The TV advert in particular carried on Sky’s tradition of using major movie characters to sell their services and in this case they adopted the computer generated ones from ‘The Secret Life of Pets‘, which featured a hyperactive talking fluffy dog-like creature that jumped around a lot. The crazed animal later appears to become rather frustrated at its broadband connectivity.

As a side note, in the video below the ASA appears to have overlooked that the router is clearly smoking and so this could be more of a hardware than a ‘broadband‘ fault.. ehumm.

Suffice to say that Virgin Media challenged whether the claims in both ads – that Sky Broadband was “Super Reliable” – were misleading and could be substantiated. However Sky said they did not think the claims would be understood to be a comparison with other ISPs and felt as if it would have been interpreted by viewers to mean that their service was simply very reliable.

Sky also felt as if their claim was supported by favourable results from Ofcom’s study of consumer complaints and broadband performance. However in a lengthy response the ASA proceeded to explain why this was not the case and upheld Virgin Media’s complaint. Interestingly it seems to have been Sky’s slower ADSL based broadband packages that dragged them down, rather than their “Fibre” (FTTC) options.

ASA Ruling (REF: A16-358763)

We considered that overall the Ofcom data demonstrated that Sky’s two fibre packages, Sky Fibre and Sky Fibre Max, delivered consistency in all measurable factors of relevance, and that Sky’s ADSL2+ package delivered consistency in all but one factor of relevance (achieving more than 90% of maximum speed during peak-time). We concluded the non-comparative “Super Reliable Sky Broadband” claim in ad (b) was therefore likely to mislead consumers, because it implied that all of Sky’s broadband packages were “Super Reliable” when that was not the case for Sky’s ADSL2+ package.

With regard to the comparative claim “Switch to super reliable Sky broadband” in ad (a), we considered that the Ofcom data demonstrated that Sky’s broadband packages delivered a similarly consistent connection to that of the comparable packages of their competitors, but did not deliver a more consistent connection. We therefore concluded the comparative claim “Switch to super reliable Sky broadband” in ad (a) was likely to mislead consumers.
As usual the ASA banned the adverts and told Sky not to use claims which “implied that all three of their broadband packages were ‘Super Reliable’ unless they held sufficient evidence” to support it. Only last month another one of Sky’s broadband TV adverts, which featured Lego Batman, was similarly banned for misleadingly claiming to offer the “UK’s lowest priced fibre including line rental