BT Sport when it launched caused some confusion due to the many ways it can be viewed, and this week the ASA has upheld a number of complaints about a BT Sport advert.
Five complaints including one from TalkTalk were received, and they focused on the platforms that BT Sport was available on.
"The ASA received five complaints:
1. TalkTalk and a further three complainants challenged whether the ad was misleading, because it did not make sufficiently clear that BT Sport was only available to view online unless customers also had access to Sky Digital or BT TV with Infinity.
2. One complainant challenged whether it was misleading for the ad to feature scenes set in businesses, because he understood that BT Sport was not free to business customers.
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told BT to ensure that ads for BT Sport "free" offers included a clearly worded qualification that BT Sport was only available to view online unless customers also had access to Sky Digital or BT TV with Infinity and that this was displayed at the time the offer was referenced. We also told them to take care if featuring scenes of BT Sport being watched in businesses in such ads if the offer did not apply to BT business customers."Extract from ASA adjudication
To avoid confusion over the wording we have copied the salient sections since wording is very important in this case, as a quick read can have you thinking that you need Sky Digital or BT TV with Infinity to watch BT Sport online.
The length of time that complaints take to be investigated at the ASA is reflected by the omission of the Virgin Media cable platform where BT Sport is also available and in April 2014 Chromecast support was added. The addition of Chromecast means any TV with a HDMI input can show BT Sport, it just needs a BT subscriber to cast the stream to the dongle. The Chromecast dongles are available for £30, and special promo of £4.99 Google Play credit is available.
"BT is disappointed with this decision from the ASA. We have made very clear in our advertising the various ways that customers can get BT Sport and we believe this ad would not have misinformed any customers.
We also feel that the mere fact that two brief shots were set in a barber’s and a pub in no way constituted an appeal to businesses to sign up for the ‘free’ offer which is only available to customers who take our consumer broadband."BT statement on ruling
The wide range of ways in which BT Sport can be viewed is part of the reason for peoples confusion and prior to the channels launch there was lots of rumour and mis-information around. Conveying the range of viewing options succinctly in a short TV advert while ticking all the compliance boxes is difficult.