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bSkyB offer was not the “best ever” – and is pulled

19 November 2014

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has today announced that it has upheld a complaint against a BSkyB press advertisement, which claimed that the broadband bundles Sky was offering were the “best ever”.

The advertisement in question included text at the top right-hand corner, which stated explicitly “Our BEST EVER broadband offer”. However, when a complainant challenged whether it was in fact their best offer ever and requested substantiation of the same, BSkyB was unable to substantiate the claim and the complaint was upheld.

As such, the advert fell afoul of both Rule 3.11 and Rule 3.7 of the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP Code). Those rules within the Code prohibit exaggeration and the failure to have evidence to substantiate claims made in advance of making them, respectively.

Of particular interest in this case is the fact that the ASA are policing use of the word ‘best’ ever more carefully. Whilst it is still possible that an advertiser may use ‘best’ in a way that denotes it considers that a product is the best in its subjective opinion, such use must be clearly puffery (as per Alphason Designs Ltd, 6 April 2005). It is not sufficient that an advertiser is referring to its own promotions; if the statement about those promotions is clearly an objective one, it must still be accurate – and if that statement is that the promotion is the ‘best’ of its offers – then it must literally be the best of its offers.

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