Ad watchdog upholds complaint against BSkyB

A BSkyB ad for its HD and ESPN packages has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for misleading consumers about the price of its packages.

The ad by Brothers and Sisters ran in August 2011 and featured fans watching football matches in a stadium. The voiceover said: "Because you can't always be there, enjoy the new season on five Sky Sports channels and ESPN, all in high definition, only with Sky."

The ad offered consumers a free HD box and free standard set up.

The small print at the bottom of the screen stated the prices of the HD, Sky+, Sky Sports and ESPN package combinations available. It also said a minimum contract would be required for the service and additional terms may apply.

One person complained to the ad watchdog, calling it was misleading because the ad did not clearly state that consumers were required to have a landline to receive the services at the advertised prices.

The additional terms of the offer meant that if consumers did not have a landline, they would be required to pay a one-off charge of £25 to have their HD box connected by Sky.

Despite both BSkyB and Clearcast claiming that the ad had stated enough of the required terms and conditions in the creative, the ASA banned the ad.

The ASA said it was "significant" that consumers would either have to have the HD box connected to a landline or pay an additional payment of £25, as it changed the price of the offer advertised.

The decision by the watchdog that the BSkyB ad broke the advertising codes comes almost a year since it was first aired, and will lead some to question the significance of today's decision.

The ASA's remit was extended in March 2011 to encompass marketing claims companies made on their own website, among other things.

The move is known to have had an initial impact on turn around times, with some cases taking longer to be adjudicated.

BSkB had another of its ads created by Brothers and Sisters banned in February this year, after a promotion for its movie channels and broadband services sparked more than 80 complaints.

Follow Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith on Twitter @LoullaMae_ES

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