TalkTalk 'delighted' by ASA ads ban ruling

ASA bans three TalkTalk ads, yet the telecoms provider is seemingly over the moon with the decision.


Despite having three of its ads banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), TalkTalk has hailed the decision as a success for the company.

BT and two others lodged a complaint with the ASA over the use of the phrase "UK's safest broadband" in the TalkTalk adverts, which appeared on TV, a poster and in the national press.

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TalkTalk argued that the claim was based on the company being the only home broadband provider in the UK to apply security features at the network level.

This probably wasn't the outcome that BT wanted when they made the complaint.

The telecoms company provides this in along with its HomeSafe service and means all devices using the TalkTalk connection are given protection. The company said other companies only provided protection for a limited number of devices, rather than at the network level.

The ASA said it took the "UK's safest broadband" claim as implying TalkTalk was promising the safest online experience, rather than making it clear about the unique network protection.

"We considered that the claim implied that customers would enjoy the safest online experience when using TalkTalk broadband," the ASA said.

"We also considered that the images shown in the ad reinforced this impression, as a father was pictured relaxing in an armchair whilst two children used the internet, giving the impression that using TalkTalk meant the actual online experience was the safest."

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The ASA also claimed HomeSafe "only offered a basic range of security features" and suggested consumers would not understand what "network level security" would mean.

"As it was not a commonly used term in home broadband, and that it could be easily misinterpreted to refer to other features such as the security of the wireless connection," the body continued.

"We considered that the claim implied that customers would enjoy the safest online experience when using TalkTalk broadband, and that the qualification used did not sufficiently counteract this impression."

Despite the ASA's claims, TalkTalk has claimed victory from the decision. The telecoms firm suggested ASA had confirmed "once and for all, that TalkTalk offers the UK's safest broadband connection."

It claimed all TalkTalk has to do in future advertising is emphasise the network aspect.

"We've never been more delighted with a ruling that, on the face of it, would be seen as going against us," TalkTalk communications director Mark Schmid told IT Pro.

"What it means is that we can now say, beyond dispute, that we are the UK's safest broadband connection. This probably wasn't the outcome that BT wanted when they made the complaint."

BT said it had no further comment on the ASA decision.

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