The National Advertising Review Board recommends that AT & T to modify or discontinue certain allegations; Holds the call for others

NEW YORK, February 9, 2022 / PRNewswire / – A panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the right body for the advertising of national programs call the BBB, recommended that AT & T Services, Inc. change or cease certain advertising claims for its Internet service fiber. The judges allowed the appeal of the advertiser as to other requests.

National Advertising Review Board (NARB)

The ad at issue had been challenged by Charter Communications, Inc. (Spectrum) before the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs. Following NAD’s decision (Case #6981), recommending that AT&T discontinue or modify certain disputed performance, price, and bandwidth comparative claims, the advertiser appealed to NARB.

At issue in the appeal were advertising claims based on the fact that AT&T’s fastest tier of fiber-based ISP service (Internet 1000) has download speeds up to 20 times faster than the tier. wired equivalent of the challenger. The disputed claims appeared in five video advertisements, three radio advertisements, one outdoor advertisement, one online advertisement and six advertisements on AT&T’s web pages.

“20 times faster download speed than cable” Product Line Claims

The NARB panel agreed with NAD that the affirmation “up to 20 times faster downloading” was a misleading statement in the advertising at issue as well as a misleading statement in radio advertisements contested Quick Internet and Small Business Owner, because the disclosures were not sufficiently clear and visible to limit the claim to optical fiber service faster aT & T.

Therefore, the NARB panel recommended that AT&T discontinue the Special Lady, Super Fan, Frustrated Family, and Reliability ads or modify them to clearly and visibly delineate the level of service with “up to 20x faster download speed.” .

Additionally, the NARB panel recommended that if AT&T chooses to include pricing information in advertisements for fiber service that lack the claimed download speed attribute, it should edit the advertisements to clarify which price tiers provide 20x faster download speed and which ones do not. .

Claims “Half the price of cable”

It was undisputed that the most expensive tier of AT&T’s Business Fiber service (Internet 1000) costs half the price of the challenger’s equivalent tier, but AT&T’s other service tiers do not cost half the price of the cable. Concurring with NAD, the NARB panel recommended that AT&T discontinue the Business Fiber and Small Business Owners advertisements and disputed price claims on the Business Fiber website and outdoor advertising or modify them to limit the claim to “half the price of cable” to AT&T Business The higher service level of fiber and the equivalent level of cable.

Higher Bandwidth Claims

The NARB panel noted that a user’s download and download speed needs depend on the online activities the user engages in, and currently, according to third-party test data on file, downloading content from the Internet accounts for 94% of the bandwidth that household use, with download activity accounting for 6%.

The NARB panel concluded that in the context of advertising and challenged web pages claim greater bandwidth AT & T, which is based on a combination of upload and download speeds, is misleading.

Given the general need for greater Internet download capacity for most homes, the NARB panel recommended that AT&T modify the higher bandwidth claims in the Business Fiber advertisement and the AT&T Fiber and Internet Services web pages to avoid making a general bandwidth superiority claim or bandwidth superiority claim. the download capacity translates into a better Internet experience. The panel further recommended that the advertiser clarify when it is referring to AT&T’s upstream bandwidth capabilities to distinguish upload and download capabilities.

superior performance claims

The NARB panel found that, other than claims that its service offers performance improvements regarding large data file transfer and downloads over cable service, AT&T has provided no basis for asserting that its 20x faster download speed results in noticeable improvements in a user’s Internet experience for video conferencing, surfing, streaming, and gaming compared to cable ISP.

Therefore, the NARB panel recommended that the advertiser discontinue claims that AT&T fiber provides superior performance for video conferencing, video chatting, browsing, streaming, or gaming, including in the context of Reliability, Quick Internet and Small Business Owner radio ads, Internet The Services web page, and Special Lady, Super Fan and Frustrated Family video ads.

The NARB panel noted that to the extent that the Quick Internet, Small Business Owner and Reliability radio advertisements refer to improved performance in file downloads and transfers, it finds these claims of data file downloads substantiated. Regarding the tagline “download content worldwide”, the panel finds the tagline appropriate in the context of file-only downloads, but not warranted for video chat or gaming as shown in advertisements.

The NARB panel agreed with NAD that nothing in the filing prevents AT&T from making substantiated claims that AT&T Fiber provides superior performance when its faster download speeds actually provide a superior experience for consumers.

General complaints for a faster Internet or an improved Internet

Concurring with NAD, the NARB panel recommended that AT&T stop claiming in Special Lady, Business Fiber, and Super Fan commercials and on the Internet 1000 webpage that AT&T Fiber offers “better Internet” than cable, and avoid to make the implied assertion that fiber technology provides faster Internet service in general or is invariably superior to cable technology.

AT&T said it “supports the NARB’s self-regulatory process and will comply with the NARB’s decision.” Additionally, the advertiser stated that he “appreciated[s] NARB’s acknowledgment that some of our assertions were true “…but” respectfully disagrees[s] with the remainder of NARB’s conclusion recommending that other AT&T Fiber commercials be discontinued or changed. »

All National BBB Program case decision summaries can be found in the Case Decision Library. For the full text of NAD, NARB and CARU decisions, subscribe to the online archive.

About National BBB Programs: The BBB national programs are where businesses turn to strengthen consumer confidence and consumers agreed. The nonprofit organization creates a more level playing field for companies and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective accountability third parties and dispute resolution programs. Assuming the role of independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs now oversees more than a dozen national industry self-regulatory programs and continues to evolve its work and increase its impact by providing business advice and promoting best practices in areas such as advertising, marketing to children and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.

About the National Review Board advertising (NARB) The National Advertising Review Board (NARB) is the appellate body for the National BBB Programs’ advertising self-regulatory programs. NARB panel members include 85 distinguished volunteer professionals from the national advertising industry, agencies and members of the public, such as academics and former members of the public sector. NARB serves as an independent industry peer review layer that helps build trust and compliance in NAD, CARU and DSSRC matters.

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