The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has sided with Sky’s argument that a comparison advert from Virgin Media offered an unfair comparison.
The ASA received just one complaint about the Virgin Media regional advert – believed to have come from Sky itself – and decided that the complaint was fair.
The advert told Sky customers that switching to a bundle from Virgin Media could save as much as £400 a year. Sky baulked challenged the advert on two grounds. Its first complaint was that the ad was “misleading” because the savings quoted were not based on reality, and its second was that the comparison was not like for like, which was therefore also “misleading”.
The ASA agreed with Sky. It found that 0.01 per cent of Sky users are contracted to the bundle option that Virgin Media was using as a comparison against one of its own and that it could not support the headline claim that a number of Sky customers could benefit from making the switch.
“Given that the ad was targeted at Sky customers generally through its headline claim, we considered that it was necessary for a reasonable proportion of consumers to achieve the claimed saving,” the ASA said. “The ad encouraged Sky customers to switch to Virgin [Media], but using the comparison in this example, only a relatively small proportion of Sky customers would save to the degree claimed.”