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ASA Rule Against TalkTalk

Written by Ben Evans on 22 July 2011

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The Advertsing Standards Agency (ASA) have decided that a TV advert for telecoms company TalkTalk was misleading and cannot be shown again.

According to the ASA: "The ad exaggerated the savings that customers to whom the ad was addressed were likely to achieve and was misleading," and that as a result "The ad must not be shown again in its current form."

The Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) Code prohibits broadcast adverts from exaggerating "the capability or performance of a product or service" and any claims made in the advertisement must be capble of being objectively verified. The advert in question referred to research conducted by ICM and displayed text stating that market researchers had surveyed how much money new TalkTalk customers could save with TalkTalk. Rival BT complained that the ad was misleading because TalkTalk used figures based on savings made by existing customers and not new customers. TalkTalk argued that the text relayed the results of its survey and did not claim to compare prices with competitors.

In its ruling the ASA said:"We did not consider that that methodology was sufficiently robust to support a savings claim because customers who had switched to TalkTalk were more likely to have done so if they were going to make a saving, and the survey results were therefore unlikely to include data for customers for whom a switch would result in either no saving at all or only a small saving...We therefore considered that the survey results could not show that customers of other providers would definitely make a substantial saving if they also switched,"

The ruling continued: "We disagreed that the question marks surrounding the onscreen text 'SAVE OVER £140' made this clear as they appeared only briefly and could easily have been overlooked..We considered that the claims 'Save over £140' and '... join our customers who are already saving an average of over 140 pounds a year' would be interpreted by viewers as a whole-bill savings claims and that by switching to TalkTalk, like those customers who had already switched, they too would make a substantial saving." .

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