NAD Recommends Comcast Discontinue or Modify “Best In-Home WiFi Experience” Claim; Advertiser to Appeal
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs
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New York, NY – October 20, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs recommended that Comcast Cable Communications, LLC discontinue its “Living with AT&T” commercial because it communicated an unsupported message that AT&T offers and sells consumers internet speeds that it does not deliver. However, NAD determined that the express claim “AT&T, why am I paying the same price for only a fraction of the speed you advertised?,” standing alone, was supported. NAD also recommended that Comcast discontinue its “Best In-Home WiFi Experience” claim or narrowly tailor it to the specific attributes for which Comcast can support a superiority claim.
The claims at issue were challenged by AT&T Services, Inc. Both parties provide home internet to consumers.
Comcast internet service is delivered over its cable network, with the same speeds available to nearly all customers in its service area. Whereas, AT&T provides its customers different speed tiers, based on which technology is available at their address (e.g., copper telephone wire, fiber optic cable, and a hybrid of copper and fiber optic cable). At its base level of service, AT&T charges a flat price for “up to 100 Mbps” meaning that consumers will be sold different internet speeds depending on which speed is available at the consumer’s address. Comcast’s advertising sought to highlight that consumers who sign up for this service pay the same price but receive different internet speeds.
Because of this flat price model, NAD determined that the challenged express claim in Comcast’s “Living with AT&T” commercial, “AT&T, why am I paying the same price for only a fraction of the speed you advertised?,” was supported.
However, NAD determined that the commercial also reasonably conveys the implied message that AT&T offers and sells consumers internet speeds that it does not deliver. This claim was not supported so NAD recommended the “Living with AT&T” commercial be discontinued. NAD did not conclude that the commercial conveys the message that AT&T services does not work or is prone to interruption.
The challenger also took issue with the claim “Best In-Home WiFi Experience,” which appeared in two Comcast television commercials and a mailer.
NAD found that Comcast’s claim conveys an unqualified message that Comcast delivers the “best in-home WiFi experience,” which requires evidence matching the breadth of the claim, i.e. evidence that Comcast’s customers “WiFi experience” is superior to its competitors based on consumer-relevant metrics. NAD noted that the advertiser provided a compelling description of the numerous features it provides its customers to improve their WiFi experience, but did not demonstrate that consumers use or value these benefits more than their competitors’. Therefore, NAD determined that the evidence in the record did not match this broad, unqualified multi-attribute superiority claim and recommended that it be discontinued or narrowly tailored to the specific attributes for which Comcast can support a superiority claim. NAD noted that nothing in its decision otherwise prevents the advertiser from promoting its unique WiFi features and the benefits they provide.
In its advertiser’s statement, Comcast stated that it will appeal NAD’s decision to the National Advertising Review Board. The advertiser further stated that it is appealing because it believes it “provided a more than reasonable basis to support its claim that it provides the “best in-home WiFi experience” and that this decision is a “departure from the reasonable basis standard upon which Comcast and all other responsible advertisers rely.”
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About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD), a division of BBB National Programs, provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaningful protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.
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