NARB Recommends Comcast Discontinue or Modify “Best In-Home WiFi Experience” Claim and Discontinue its “Roommate” Commercial
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New York, NY – January 27, 2021 – A panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate advertising law body of BBB National Programs, has recommended that Comcast Cable Communications, LLC:
- Discontinue its “Roommate” (also referred to as “Living with AT&T”) commercial; and
- Discontinue its “Best In-Home WiFi Experience” claim or modify it to refer to the specific attributes for which it can support a superiority claim.
The advertising at issue had been challenged by AT&T Services, Inc. before BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division (NAD). Following NAD’s decision (Case No. 6417), Comcast appealed, and AT&T cross-appealed, certain NAD findings and recommendations.
Comcast internet service is delivered over its cable network, with the same speeds available to nearly all customers in its service area. AT&T, by contrast, provides its customers with three tiers of ISP service. All subscribers to a specific AT&T tier pay the same price but depending on their location do not necessarily receive the same speed. It is this aspect of the AT&T service offering that Comcast sought to highlight in its Roommate commercial.
The panel concluded that Comcast’s “Roommate” commercial was misleading because it communicated the unsupported implicit message that AT&T consumers contract for a speed of service they do not receive. Further, the panel determined at least one message communicated to consumers in the commercial is that AT&T’s service is substandard in terms of the speeds it promises to deliver (e.g., it does not work or is prone to interruption), and that this message was unsupported.
For these reasons, the panel recommended that the “Roommate” commercial be discontinued.
The panel found that the “Best In-Home WiFi Experience” claim asserts superiority over all market competitors and that in a superiority (or even a parity) context, an “experience” claim is an evaluative claim that requires an assessment of consumer views. Comcast, however, did not offer any evidence from consumers concerning their “experience” with the various service features for which Comcast claimed superiority. The panel concluded that it was feasible for Comcast to have generated relevant consumer research. Thus, the panel adopted NAD’s recommendation that the claim be discontinued, or that Comcast should modify it to narrowly tailor its claim to the specific attributes for which it can support a superiority claim.
Comcast stated that it will “comply with NARB’s decision” and “take NARB’s recommendations under consideration in future advertising.”
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.
About the National Advertising Review Board (NARB): The National Advertising Review Board (NARB) is the appellate body for BBB National Programs’ advertising self-regulatory programs. NARB’s panel members include 87 distinguished volunteer professionals from the national advertising industry, agencies, and public members, such as academics and former members of the public sector. NARB serves as a layer of independent industry peer review that helps engender trust and compliance in NAD, CARU, and DSSRC matters.
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