The Better Business Bureau's ad review arm has advised Charter to stop using broadcast ads that make what it says are "unsubstantiated” claims about the impact of the AT&T-DirecTV merger on customer service.
"NAD [National Advertising Division] determined that the depicted conversation in the 'Transfer' commercial conveys the substantive message that DirecTV’s merger with AT&T has had a deleterious effect on the company’s ability to provide customer service. Because such a claim was not supported, NAD recommended that the advertisement be discontinued," it said.
The fact that the ads are funny does not remove the obligation to support the claims they make, NAD concluded. The division is an investigate unit of the ad industry self-regulatory body. Its recommendations are not a finding of wrongdoing, however. Charter said it accepted the recommendation, according to NAD.
NAD did find that Charter could support the ads' claims about promotional pricing.
The ads were placed on the internet as was as broadcast and featured comedian Kevin Nealon as the "captain" of a satellite TV quarters made to look out of date.
The ads "depicted satellite television consumers as frustrated with the number and type of channels featured in their particular service package and included the unsupported claim that DirecTV customers 'pay more for what [they] love to watch,'" said NAD.
One claim that NAD said was supported was that the DirecTV bill had doubled because the previous bill had been at a promotional price. "NAD found the claim supported by the evidence in the record," NAD said.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.