The ASA have slapped BT's wrists for a national press advert they put out to advertise the new fibre based BT Infinity range of products. Large text in the middle of the advert stated "BT Infinity The Birth of the instant internet" and was accompanied by other text that invited users to download and upload files instantly. Four complaints were received about the use of the term "instantly" which they believed to be misleading. Consumers would of course have to wait for things to download or upload which could in some cases be only a matter of seconds but may turn out to be quite a bit longer.
In a palpable defence, BT claimed that consumers would know that the word "instant" didn't actually mean instantly, particularly in the context of broadband and the Internet. It's not obvious why BT expect their potential customers to know the ins and outs of their new products, particularly when adverts like this hype them beyond their actual abilities, but perhaps they are right in that most people expect adverts to be misleading.
The ASA considered that consumers would understand the claims "Upload and share high quality photos and videos instantly", "Download your favourite music instantly", "Enjoy multiple websites and online content instantly" and "Stream HD movies and TV shows instantly", as well as "The birth of the instant internet", to mean that BTs fibre optic broadband could deliver the listed activities straightaway, or with no noticeable delay.
We noted that BT had provided a list of the times they believed it would take to complete the activities stated in the ad, using their fibre optic broadband. However, we also noted that we had not seen evidence that substantiated those times, or that showed what speeds could be achieved by customers using BTs fibre optic broadband, and that those speeds would be achievable by customers at times of high user demand and with non-optimal computer set-ups.
We noted the three customer profiles and two videos submitted by BT, however, we did not consider that profiles and testimonials alone were sufficient to substantiate claims relating to the speed of a broadband service. Because we had not seen evidence to support the claims made in the ad, we concluded that it was misleading.ASA Assessment of BT advert