BT’s claim that it provides “the UK’s most reliable wireless connection” is misleading and must not be repeated without evidence or qualification, the advertising watchdog has ruled.
The TV ad featured a voice-over that stated, “Every city, every town, every home, is filled with an invisible network of competing signals which can make it hard to receive a clear signal for your internet, and can cause some routers to drop out.” On-screen text stated “Wireless connectivity requires enabled equipment & range can vary according to home environment”. The voice-over stated, “BT’s signal is designed to avoid interference. Thanks to the new home hub with smart wireless technology.” On-screen text stated “Compared to all other Broadband Providers”. The voice-over stated, “That’s why it’s the UK’s most reliable wireless connection…”
According to the Advertising Standards Authority, the issue:
2. Three complainants, who believed the product could only avoid interference from Wi-Fi devices, challenged whether the claim “Every city, every town, every home, is filled with an invisible network of competing signals which can make it hard to receive a clear signal for your internet, and can cause some routers to drop out” could be substantiated.
3. One complainant challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied BT was the only internet service provider to offer a router that actively avoided interference.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the statement, in the context of the television advert it features in, gives the impression that BT provides the most reliable wireless online experience.
However the internet service provider has not proven that the actual online experience is the most reliable and only referred to the BT Home Hub 3 router, according to the ASA.
BT’s tests did confirm that particular router was more reliable at maintaining a wireless connection despite interference from non-Wi-Fi devices such as baby monitors.
However, the ASA said the advert suggested that BT’s broadband service was the best in the face of “competing signals” and it wasn’t made clear that these signals were non-Wi-Fi devices.
The ASA’s ruling said: “We considered that, although it was not BT’s intention, viewers were likely to infer from the context of the whole ad that the claim ‘the UK’s most reliable wireless connection’ meant that BT provided the most reliable wireless online experience.
“Because BT had not proven that the actual online experience was the most reliable, and because the ad did not contain a qualification to make clear that the ‘invisible network of competing signals’ referred to signals emitted from non-Wi-Fi devices, and the claim ‘the UK’s most reliable wireless connection’ referred to their Home Hub 3 router only, the claim was misleading.
“The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told BT not to repeat the claim ‘the UK’s most reliable wireless connection’ in future unless they provided adequate evidence to substantiate it, or qualified the basis in which the claim was made.”
The ASA also upheld the complaint that the advert misleadingly implied that BT was the only internet service provider to offer a router that actively avoided interference.
BT said it was the only broadband provider in the UK to offer a router which avoided interference from non-Wi-Fi devices. However the ASA said viewers would understand the voice-over claim to mean BT was the only broadband provider to offer a router which avoided interference in general, regardless of its cause.
You can read the full adjudication here