ASA Adjudication on British Sky Broadcasting Ltd
British Sky Broadcasting Ltd
NHC3, Ground Floor
2 May 2012
Number of complaints:
Brothers and Sisters
A TV ad for British Sky Broadcasting, seen in August 2011, showed fans watching various football games in a stadium. Small text at the bottom of the screen stated "Sky+HD packages from £29.75 a month by DD. Sky Sports Pack + ESPN £29.25 a month extra. Free box for new Sky+HD households in UK only. One free box per household. Upfront payment may be required from new customers. Min contract and further terms apply. HD TV required". Voice-over stated "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. Join or upgrade today, get a free Sky+ HD box and free standard set up". Large text on screen stated "When you join or upgrade to Sky+ HD. Sky+ customers must take our free self set up option - offer ends 31st August".
A viewer challenged whether the ad was misleading, because it did not state that customers were required to have a landline in order to receive the service at the price stated.
British Sky Broadcasting (Sky) said it was not an absolute requirement for the box to be connected to a landline. They said it was required for the first 12 months only, and a customer could choose to pay £25 if they did not wish to connect their box in that period. They said they did not believe the requirement for a landline was material information which needed to be stated in the ad because they considered customers understood that they may need to connect their box to a landline or broadband connection. They said they were not aware of receiving complaints on this issue before, despite the fact that their ads had not stated the need for a landline for several years. They said Ofcom statistics stated that 85% of adults lived in homes with a landline. In that case they would not, therefore, incur any additional cost in connecting their box to a landline.
Clearcast said that all ads were checked to ensure that on-screen text complied with the BCAP Code. Having reviewed the ad in light of the complaint, they remained satisfied that the text complied. They sent a copy of the terms and conditions that were submitted to them in relation to the free Sky+HD box and free standard set up. They said there were always a number of terms and conditions attached to such offers and that Clearcast needed to decide which were the most significant (and which therefore needed to be stated in the ad). They noted that the terms and conditions did not state that a landline was required and considered they had ensured that the ad stated the significant terms and conditions that applied to the offer.
The ASA noted Sky's reasons why they believed the ad did not need to state that a landline was required and Clearcast's reasons for believing the ad stated the significant terms and conditions that applied. We noted that on-screen text stated "Upfront payment may be required from new customers. Min contract and further terms apply". We considered it was significant, however, that customers needed either to have the box connected to a landline for the first 12 months or make an additional one-off payment of £25, and that they would therefore not be able to obtain the service for the prices stated. We considered that the information given in the ad was insufficient to convey that. Because of that, we concluded that the ad was misleading.
The ad breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.2 (Misleading advertising) and 3.11 (Qualification).
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.