The watchdog for advertising has banned the mobile network Three’s advertising campaign, which was themed around the Muppets. This is after a complaint from the rival network EE.
EE lodged an official complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority regarding the campaign and in particular, one slogan where Three were claiming to be the ‘undisputed’ leader of the telecoms market. The advert showed Jackson, a Muppet-style figure from Creature Shop, wearing boxing gloves and celebrating Rocky-style. The slogan read “The undisputed. UK’s most reliable network. Again.”
EE took to their social media channels to share a dictionary definition of the word ‘undisputed’, asking Three to prove their bold claim.
— EE (@EE) November 5, 2015
Someone from the public also complained to the Advertising Standards Agency.
Three said that the claims used in the advert came from a YouGov report, where it had triumphed over rivals in five categories in a survey about the reliability of mobile phone networks. They said there was no standard test for network reliability, so the best way to decide it is to ask customers.
In their response, the ASA said that the advert didn’t make it clear the word ‘undisputed’ came from the views of customers, stating that people who saw the advert may be thinking that the claim has stemmed from objective measures. A spokesperson confirmed the verdict was that the advert was ‘misleading’ and as a result, the advert must not appear again in the current format. Instead, if Three is to make such a claim again, they must make it clear that it is based on a survey of consumer opinions.
A spokesperson for Three defended the advert, stating that the network has been acknowledged by consumers to be the most reliable network for several times in a row. They also said that technical tests by Rootmetrics deem Three to be the most reliable network, so they were ‘disappointed’ by the ASA’s ruling.
EE posted a tweet this morning to gloat over the findings, saying:
— EE (@EE) May 11, 2016
For more information about EE’s network, call EE customer service.