BBB National Programs Archive

NARB Recommends Charter Drop ‘Again’ from Grim Reaper’s Complaint About DirecTV Satellite Television Service

New York, NY – July 26, 2018 –  A panel of the National Advertising Review Board has recommended that Charter Communications discontinue use of the word “again” in a commercial in which the Grim Reaper states that his family’s satellite dish “went out in the rain, again.” The panel also recommended that Charter discontinue claims that contrast satellite TV as unreliable and its Spectrum TV service as reliable.

The panel determined that the challenged commercial conveyed the messages that satellite TV users will experience frequent and regular outages in the rain and that satellite TV is highly unreliable, messages that the panel found were not supported by the evidence in the record.

NARB is the appellate unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and it is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

Satellite television provider DirecTV had earlier challenged Charter’s advertising before the National Advertising Division, an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. NAD found that the use of the word “again,” in the context of the challenged advertising, reasonably conveyed the unsupported message that outages are a frequent and regular occurrence and that satellite television is “highly unreliable.” Charter appealed that finding to the NARB.

NAD also found that the message conveyed by a modified version of the commercial – that satellite TV users may experience occasional outages due to rain and other inclement weather – was supported. DirecTV filed a cross appeal on that issue.

NARB, in its decision, said it did not agree with DirecTV “that the modified video reasonably conveys a message that DirecTV service is prone to frequent and protracted outages and is the source of significant frustration to DirecTV customers.”

Rather, the panel found that the message reasonably conveyed by the modified video was that satellite TV subscribers will likely experience occasional outages due to rain – a message the panel found was supported by the record in this case.

Charter, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company accepts the panel’s recommendations with respect to the challenged commercial and appreciates its recognition that the case record l supports the message that satellite TV subscribers will likely experience occasional outages due to rain.  Charter stated its disagreement  that the commercial communicates any unsupported message about satellite TV’s likelihood of cutting out in the rain, but said it will comply with the panel’s recommendations if it re-airs the commercial.

Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.