The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned an Orange 'Home Max' broadband and telephone package advert featured in national and regional press. Orange's advert claimed that BT customers could save money by switching their broadband and telephone package to Orange.
The ruling suggests that marketers may need to go further than before in highlighting the disadvantages of moving from a competitor. So, alongside cost savings, marketers may have to go into more detail about the detriment, even where the comparison is already generally like-for-like. This ruling is likely to have a particular impact in industries such as insurance, financial services and telecommunications, where an identical product or package is unlikely to be easy to find.
Orange's advert claimed that BT customers on two specific BT packages could "save over £190" by switching their broadband and telephone package to Orange. BT complained to the ASA that the advert was misleading as it did not take into account additional features in the BT packages that customers would lose if they moved to Orange. Orange did not consider that the differences would influence consumers' choice.
The ASA seemed to agree with Orange that the two sets of packages were generally comparing like for like – both packages included a similar broadband speed, usage allowance, free call allowance and a wireless router. However, the ASA went on to say that, although the advert explained the £190 saving calculation in small print, Orange should have prominently detailed the benefits consumers would lose through switching to Orange, so that consumers could make a fair comparison.