A national press ad for Sky UK, seen in October 2017, included text which stated “Get Unlimited Broadband At Our Best Prices”. Other text was included in the ad which stated “JOIN OR RECONTRACT SKY TV TODAY”.
BT, who believed the ad implied Sky were offering their best ever prices, challenged whether the claim “Get Unlimited Broadband At Our Best Prices” was misleading and could be substantiated.
Sky UK Ltd t/a Sky stated that the prices offered were the “best prices” for the products advertised. They said new or existing Sky TV customers received better prices for the three products than customers who did not have Sky TV. Further, they believed the ad made clear that the “best prices” offer was based on certain conditions such as the customer taking up Sky TV. They did not say the prices offered were Sky’s “best ever prices” as they did not intend to make a comparison against previous prices offered by Sky; if that had been their intention they would have included that wording. They believed the average consumer would understand the difference between “best prices” and “best ever prices” and therefore additional wording was unnecessary. They said that in a previous September ad for the three products, they had included the phrase “best prices ever”, but because the prices had now increased, they had removed the word “ever” from the claim.
The ASA noted that the ad did not clarify the basis of the claim “our best prices”. In the absence of such information, we considered that consumers would understand the claim “our best prices” to mean that the advertised broadband packages were at a lower price than they had been for a reasonable amount of time prior to the offer being available.
However, we understood that the basis for the lowest price claim was that the packages were cheaper when purchased with TV than when they were purchased alone. We noted that in the previous month Sky had offered the same broadband products at lower prices.
Therefore, while we acknowledged that the prices offered were their best prices for the relevant products at the time the ad appeared, because the ad suggested that the packages were at a lower price than they had been recently, but in the previous month Sky had offered the relevant broadband product alone at lower prices, we concluded the “our best prices” claim was likely to mislead.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means. (Misleading Advertising), 3.9 3.9 Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. (Qualification) and 3.17 3.17 Price statements must not mislead by omission, undue emphasis or distortion. They must relate to the product featured in the marketing communication. (Prices).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Sky to make clear the basis of their lowest price claims.