A TV ad for fibre optic broadband featured on-screen text that stated "62% UK coverage. Check bt.com/infinity for availability. From survey of 886 BT Infinity customers (unlikely to ever return to standard broadband); ICM Research July 2013. Speeds based on UK average standard (ADSL) speed from latest Ofcom broadband performance report vs BT Infinity 1 average customer speed (24 hours)".
The voice-over stated, "Get superfast fibre optic broadband with the big BT spring deal. BT Infinity is up to five times faster than the average speed of standard UK broadband. It's so good, eighty five per cent of BT Infinity customers don't think they'll ever go back." The small print then disappeared, and the voice-over stated "Right now, you can get BT Infinity Extra at the big BT spring deal price of eight pounds a month for the first six months, then sixteen pounds a month."
A second block of on-screen text appeared, which stated "Introductory offer ends 25/06/14. New UK residential BT Broadband customers. 18m term. £18/month from month 19. 40GB usage & Net Protect Plus. Payable by D.D. £6.95 delivery & £30 activation. Subject to availability, min line speed & computer specs. Sport on TV requires 12m broadband contract & ongoing renewal. Sky box & active viewing card required. Online requires 40kbps speed. Excludes Multiscreen. Terms apply." The voice-over stated, "And you enjoy free BT Sport that you can watch online or on a Sky Digital satellite platform. So get BT Infinity Extra with free BT Sport, for eight pounds a month for the first six months. Don't miss the big BT spring deal."
The complainant challenged whether the ad was misleading because they believed the second set of on-screen text, which contained several significant conditions, was not clearly legible.
Clearcast confirmed that the relevant on-screen text had passed their super legibility checks and was in line with the relevant BCAP guidance. They said the size of the on-screen text was 17 lines high, although the guidance only required it to be 14 lines high and the on-screen text was held for three seconds longer than required by the guidance.
We noted that Clearcast had confirmed that the ad fulfilled the requirements of the BCAP guidance on the standards that superimposed text should meet with regard to the height of text and its duration of hold on screen. However, in this case we noted that the proportions of the superimposed text made it appear compressed and difficult to read and concluded that it would not be sufficiently legible or clear to viewers.
The ad breached BCAP Code rules
Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
(Misleading advertising) and
Qualifications must be presented clearly.
BCAP has published Guidance on Superimposed Text to help television broadcasters ensure compliance with rule 3.1 3.1 Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. . The guidance is available at:
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told British Telecommunications plc to ensure that the superimposed text in their ads was legible.