Virgin Media O2 should cease claiming its cellular community is “the most effective within the UK for protection” after the Promoting Requirements Authority (ASA) agreed with EE that the boast was deceptive.
O2, which merged with Virgin Media earlier this yr, is a serial winner of uSwitch’s ‘Greatest Community Protection’ award and has used its victories to justify statements in its promoting campaigns over the previous few years.
This included a press commercial printed in March 2020 that attracted EE’s ire. EE complained to the ASA that any comparative declare about community protection must be based mostly on technical proof and never a client survey just like the one used to find out the uSwitch award.
O2 refuted options it was deceptive prospects, arguing that client expertise was a legitimate metric as technical proof alone doesn’t bear in mind the person circumstances that may dictate the standard of protection.
The corporate additionally argued that it was not making a comparative declare, including that the phrases ‘awarded’ and ‘voted’, made that clear. Moreover, O2 mentioned it had acquired no different complaints about its campaigns and that it included the uSwitch emblem to bolster the legitimacy of the award.
Nonetheless, the ASA sided with EE, ruling that the usage of the time period ‘finest’ meant customers would interpret the advert as a comparative declare and, as such, the authority would have anticipated goal proof to help such an announcement.
“We famous that buyers have been more likely to have differing understandings of what constituted good protection, relying on their typical utilization habits,” mentioned the ASA.
“Moreover, we thought of that it was unlikely that members would have an perception into how their very own community in contrast towards all others in the marketplace when ranking the protection they skilled.
“General we have been involved that the info confirmed solely extremely subjective experiences and it was not clear how responses may very well be in contrast in a significant strategy to come to a view that one community was the ‘finest’.”
Virgin Media O2 has been advised that the claims should not be included in future campaigns in a approach that contradicts the ruling.