ASA Adjudication on British Telecommunications plc
British Telecommunications plc
81 Newgate Street
23 May 2012
Computers and telecommunications
Number of complaints:
Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO Ltd
A TV ad for a fibre optic broadband product called 'BT Infinity'. It featured two students, one male and one female, going to view rooms at a flat share. A man opened the door of the flat and said, "Hello, you've got the room" to the female student and, "sorry" to the male, who replied, "The ad said there were two rooms going." The man stated, "Ah no, there's not enough broadband capacity to support three computers going at it constantly." The female student asked, "Why, what've you got?" "Erm, BT Infinity." The male student said, "We've got that at home, it's like three times faster than your average broadband." The man replied, "Four times faster actually, it's pretty much one of the fastest you can get, so ..." The female student then said, "So room for Joe too then?" The man opened the door fully and let them both in, saying, "Yeah, yeah of course, come in. I was just joking." Then, leaning towards the BT Infinity home hub he said, "Thanks fibre optic technology." Immediately afterwards a voice-over stated, "Four times faster than average broadband: Infinity, only from BT." At the same time on-screen text appeared that stated, "4x faster than average UK broadband speeds [telephone number] Infinity. Only from BT [BT logo]".
TalkTalk Telecom Ltd and two members of the public challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied that fibre optic broadband was only available from BT.
British Telecommunications plc (BT) believed that the ad did not imply that it was only BT who offered fibre optic broadband and that it was very clear from the context of the ad that "Infinity" was the BT fibre optic broadband brand name rather than the only type of such technology available. They said the claim, "Infinity, only from BT" was factually correct because only BT offered the Infinity branded product, which they said was a suite of features including their security features, the BT Home Hub 3, free out of home wifi minutes, online storage and more. Because consumers taking out fibre optic broadband from other providers would not receive these features, BT said the claim "only from BT" was accurate and not misleading. Furthermore they believed it was acceptable for them to refer to fibre optic broadband in their advertising.
BT said the only reference to fibre optic broadband technology was as part of a light-hearted dialogue between the characters; they did not believe that it formed part of the infinity campaign taglines, which appeared only in separate voice-overs and on-screen text. BT maintained that because the claim, "Infinity, only from BT" was not connected to the reference to fibre optic broadband, it was not capable of misleading.
Clearcast endorsed BT's response and did not believe that the ad was misleading.
The ASA noted that the last bit of dialogue in the ad was, "Thanks fibre optic technology" and that this was followed by the voice-over, which stated, "Four times faster than average broadband: Infinity, only from BT." We also noted the on-screen text at this time stated, "4x faster than average UK broadband speeds [telephone number] Infinity. Only from BT [BT logo]". We considered that viewers would understand that "Infinity" was the name of the BT broadband product and that the claim "Only from BT" related to this product, not to fibre optic technology generally. Because we did not consider that viewers would infer from the ad that fibre optic technology was only available from BT we concluded that the ad was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.2 (Misleading advertising) and 3.33 (Comparisons with identifiable competitors) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.