Whenever your rivals complain to the Council of Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division, one of two things are possible: Your ad is either really deceptive or it’s really effective. Comcast last year scored some points for going after a particularly deceptive AT&T ad that bragged about having “the fastest Internet for the price” for a 3Mbps service that cost $30 per month. However, the company’s latest complaint about DirecTV’s hugely effective ad campaign starring Rob Lowe doesn’t strike us as nearly as persuasive.
Variety reports that the National Advertising Division has sided with Comcast after it complained that DirecTV’s Rob Lowe ads were making unfair and inaccurate claims about both its own services and the services of cable companies.
“Comcast challenged multiple DirecTV claims in the spots, including that ‘With DirecTV you get 99% signal reliability’ and that customers would get the industry’s ‘best picture quality and sound,'” Variety explains. “Following its review, NAD said it determined that DirecTV’s testing substantiated its 99% signal reliability claim — but that it recommended the company drop claims that it has better signal reliability, shorter customer-service wait times and better picture and sound quality than cable operators.”
The claims cited by NAD here as false should certainly be removed from ads if they are factually inaccurate. That said, there was one part of the NAD’s ruling that really struck us as excessively anal — according to Variety, the “NAD said that the claim, ‘Don’t be like this me. Get rid of cable and upgrade to DirecTV’… conveyed a ‘comparative and unsupported superiority message.'”
Gee, you mean a company would make a subjective claim to comparative superiority in one of its own advertisements? Perish the thought, that’s never happened before!