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ASA finds Bulldog radio advert misleading
Wednesday 20 July 2005 13:27:00 by Andrew Ferguson

The latest Advertising Standards Authority broadcast rulings include a complaint over a Bulldog radio advert for its broadband services. The advert was broadcast earlier in 2005, when Bulldog only offered its 4Mbps service. The full publication containing the complaint can be found here. We have published an extract below:

"A radio advertisement for Bulldog Broadband Internet service featured a make-believe boxing match. A voiceover announced “In the red corner we have standard broadband and in the blue corner we have Bulldog 4 Meg heavyweight broadband. Seconds out, round one.” A second voice said “Heavyweight Bulldog is straight in there, no waiting around. Standard Broadband doesn’t stand a chance!” A different voice then said “Bulldog’s knockout broadband starts at a featherweight £10.50 a month. For more information, text Bulldog to 81156. Limited Availability. Visit for details. Offer available till 31 May. Conditions apply.”

A listener complained that the £10.50 a month service was limited to only eight hours online time, after which a further hourly charge of £1.50 would be applied and believed this should have been stated in the advertisement."

Extract of complain from ASA publication 20th July 2005

The ASA did note the case that Bulldog raised in support of its advert, namely that the advert did not imply the service for £10.50 a month was unlimited, but was simply a starting price. Unfortunately for Bulldog it seems the ASA has decided that the time limitation of eight hours, and £1.50 for every hour over that on the cheapest Bulldog product was a important limitation that should have being made clearer. The ASA also ruled that comparing a time based service to the other 'standard' services which are often limited by download is not a clear comparison.

Clear and precise advertising is something that all service providers need to provide, and we feel that the ASA should also start to consider the 'advertising' that service providers have on their own website. The last year or so has seen an explosion in the ways broadband is packaged and sold, and rather than becoming simpler to understand, the broadband market is becoming a minefield for the average consumer.


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