NAD Asks DirecTV to Stop ‘Worry-Free’ Reliability Ad Claims

In the ongoing tit-for-tat marketing messaging battle between AT&T/DirecTV and Charter Communications, the National Advertising Division announced Thursday that it has recommended that DirecTV halt using certain ad claims about its satellite TV service, including those about its “worry-free” reliability.

DirecTV said it will appeal the NAD’s findings.

NAD, a unit administrated by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, said its findings stem from Charter’s argument that DirecTV’s worry-free service claims are “not puffery and is not true,” and that the ads falsely imply that DirecTV satellite TV signals don’t go out in the rain.

Charter’s specific challenges focus on marketing messages such as: “99% worry free signal reliability,” and “Will my signal go out? No! DirecTV’s high-powered satellites deliver 99% worry-free signal reliability so you can access the best entertainment.”

NAD said DirecTV had argued that the claim “99% signal reliability” had previously been reviewed by NAD, which had found the “99% signal reliability” claim to be supported. However, NAD said it concluded that the challenged “99% worry-free signal reliability” claim was a different claim that conveyed a similar but slightly different message. 

Additionally, NAD said Charter provided survey evidence showing that nearly 20% of DirecTV’s customers identified loss of service as the aspect of satellite TV service that they liked least, while, in another question, 62% said they had “lost service due to rain” during the past year.

The NAD recommendation and the DirecTV’s plan to appeal follows a string of other marketing-related spats between DirecTV and Charter.

Last month, NAD recommended that Charter discontinue a version of the MSO’s “Monsters: Charades” commercial that includes the claim: “TV that cuts out in the rain is evil. Spectrum is reliable.”

That recommendation, which Charter is appealing, stemmed from a challenged lodged by DirecTV. 

RELATED: NAD Urges Charter to Discontinue Version of ‘Monsters’ Ads

In late 2016, the Better Business Bureau's ad review arm advised Charter to stop using broadcast ads that made what it said were "unsubstantiated” claims about the impact of the AT&T-DirecTV merger on customer service. Those ads featured comedian Kevin Nealon as Captain Telstar, the commander of an orbiting satellite TV quarters that was made to look woefully out of date.

RELATED: Charter Ads Take Jabs at Satellite TV