Advertising watchdog ban TalkTalk’s ‘safest broadband’ adverts

The advertising watchdog has punished TalkTalk after adverts claimed they offer the ‘UK’s safest broadband’.


The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have banned three of TalkTalk’s adverts following claims that their free Homesafe package was the safest security package for its customers.


The Homesafe package was launched last May, and it allows parents to block online adult content, and gives them control over the usage of social media and gaming sites. The service also alerts users against viruses.


Rival firm BT alerted the ASA about TalkTalk’s misleading claims, stating that customers would believe that the TalkTalk package was the safest for both the connection from the network provider to the router, and the connection from the router to the device.


In response to the ASA, TalkTalk said that the advert assumed that customers knew the statement ‘safest broadband’ referred to its security package, which protects the ‘internet connection to the router’ and doesn’t include the wireless connection from the router to other devices.


Nonetheless, the ASA sided with the claims made by BT, and felt that customers using TalkTalk broadband may think they are enjoying the safest overall online experience, rather than just the safest internet connection.


TalkTalk told the ASA, their adverts don’t claim to provide the safest online experience, instead the advert refers to additional services offered with its HomeSafe package, many of which other firms provide at a cost.


The ASA said “consumers were unlikely to understand what “network level security” was, and it was not a commonly used term in home broadband, and that it could be easily misinterpreted to refer to other features such as the security of the wireless connection”.


TalkTalk – despite the ASA finding against it – have chosen to take the ruling as a success, declaring that it proves that the company offer the UK’s safest broadband connection.


A spokesman for TalkTalk said, “We welcome this ruling that establishes, once and for al, that TalkTalk offers the UK’s safest broadband connection. We introduced HomeSafe and its unique network level protection, in May and already over 200,000 families have chosen to activate it and it’s blocked more than 1 million unwelcome websites at their request”.


However TalkTalk have been warned by the ASA that its current security adverts must not appear again stating these claims.


Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh