In Two Fast-Track SWIFT Cases, NAD Recommends Spectrum Modify or Discontinue Claims and Vision Direct Voluntarily Discontinues Claim

For Immediate Release
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs

703.247.9330 / press@bbbnp.org

New York, NY – April 13, 2022 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs closed two Fast-Track SWIFT cases in March. In these cases:

  • DIRECTV, LLC challenged Charter Communications, Inc.’s (Spectrum) claims regarding the availability of sports channels and sports programming on DIRECTV’s streaming service (DIRECTV Stream); and 
  • American Optometric Association (AOA) challenged the website claim made by Vision Direct that it “operate[s] in line with the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA).”

 

Fast-Track SWIFT is an expedited NAD challenge process designed for single-issue advertising cases.

 

DIRECTV, LLC v. Spectrum

DIRECTV challenged three of Spectrum’s express claims in a television commercial titled “Monsters:Karaoke.” Those claims include:

  • Consumers cannot watch the “biggest game of the year” on DIRECTV Stream;
  • None of consumers’ “favorite sports channels” are available on DIRECTV Stream; and
  • DIRECTV Stream has “no local sports channels.” 

 

NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the challenged claims. However, NAD offered that as an alternative to discontinuing the “no local sports channels” claim, the advertiser could choose to modify it instead to inform consumers of the channels or networks that are not available as well as the specific package being compared. 

NAD determined that these claims were appropriate for Fast-Track SWIFT because the challenged express claims presented the single issue of whether the Spectrum commercial conveyed an accurate and substantiated message about the availability of sports channels and sports programming on DIRECTV Stream.

DIRECTV Stream, DIRECTV’s “over-the-top” streaming service, offers on-demand and live television programming through the internet and competes with subscription cable television services such as Spectrum. DIRECTV Stream’s lowest-priced tier of service is the “Entertainment Package,” which does not include Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) – the exclusive home for a significant number of regular season MLB, NBA, and NHL games. However, RSNs are available with each of the other DIRECTV Stream packages.

NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the unqualified claim that consumers cannot watch the “biggest game of the year” on DIRECTV Stream because, in the context of Spectrum’s commercial and when it was broadcast, “the biggest game of the year” refers to the Super Bowl and the Super Bowl is available on all DIRECTV Stream packages. 

NAD also recommended that the advertiser discontinue the claim that none of consumers “favorite sports channels” are available on DIRECTV Stream. While the comparative availability of RSNs is a legitimate point of difference that Spectrum may highlight in its advertising, NAD noted that RSNs are available on DIRECTV Stream packages, except for the Entertainment Package. 

Finally, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the claim that DIRECTV Stream offers “no local sports channels.” NAD noted that the advertiser may also modify the advertising to clarify the channels or networks that are not available and that the claim is limited to the DIRECTV Entertainment package. Any such modification should effectively and accurately inform consumers of the channels or networks that are not available as well as the specific package being compared.

NAD noted that nothing in its decision precludes the advertiser from making truthful and non-misleading claims about Spectrum and DIRECTV Stream’s available channels, including claims regarding the availability of RSNs, and their customers’ respective access to sports programming.

In its advertiser statement, Spectrum stated that it “strongly disagrees with NAD’s conclusions regarding the single commercial that was challenged” but noted that it “nonetheless remains a strong supporter of self-regulation and will comply with NAD’s decision.”

 

AOA v. Vision Direct

AOA challenged the website claim made by Vision Direct that it “operate[s] in line with the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA).”

In response to AOA’s challenge, Vision Direct informed NAD that it had voluntarily and permanently taken down the challenged express claim and affirmed that it would permanently discontinue its use going forward. Therefore, NAD did not review this claim on its merits.

Learn more about the NAD Fast-Track SWIFT challenge process and how to file a challenge. All BBB National Programs case decision summaries can be found in the case decision library. For the full text of NAD, NARB, and CARU decisions, subscribe to the online archive.

 

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