ASA: Telkom’s broadband not broad enough

It seems one cannot, after all, do movies, gaming, education, business and music on Telkom’s broadband offering.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on Thursday ruled against Telkom’s “Do Broadband” television and internet-based advertising campaign in which it promises consumers that they can do all of the above internet activities using a one-gigabyte broadband package.

“We found the advert to be misleading as all the advertised activities cannot be achieved on the 1GB package being offered,” said Lillian Mlambo, ASA spokesperson.

The ASA had received a complaint from a member of the public saying that the advertisement was misleading as a DVD-quality movie is at least 4GB in size and online gaming needs at least 20GB monthly to play daily.

In its response, Telkom offered to amend its internet advertising by including a disclaimer, though the advertisement already states that terms and conditions apply.


The disclaimer will read: “Depending on the activity (movies, music, gaming, education, communication, business or online gaming) the onus is on the customer to ensure that there is sufficient bandwidth to cater for such activity.”

However, the ASA has a long-standing principle that an advertiser cannot use a disclaimer to rectify a misleading impression already created by the advertisement.

Website

The ASA also noted that, other than taking issue with the Telkom “campaign”, the complainant did not specify any shortcomings on Telkom’s website that promotes this product. “He merely argued that it was offering functionalities that cannot realistically be achieved when using these packages.”

Among others, under the heading “Do movies”, the website shows an image of Leon Schuster from one of his movies, the ASA said. “A hypothetical reasonable person would interpret this to mean that one would be able to download and watch movies with this product. This is the same interpretation as the complainant had.

“However, when clicking on this option it becomes apparent that this is not possible. This functionality merely offers short video clips from YouTube and the opportunity to view wildlife on Wildearth. The only association with full-length movies is that one may purchase tickets online for Nu Metro or Ster-Kinekor and read movie news.”

The ASA added: “The [website’s] ‘Do gaming’ option claims to bring customers ‘South Africa’s number-one online gaming service’. While it does appear to offer the opportunity of online gaming, there is no indication that this will only function on the larger and more expensive of the available packages.”

It ruled that the standard Telkom disclaimer was not sufficiently clear on the capabilities and limitations of each “do” package, which is likely to mislead consumers.

“While the directorate accepts that consumers have a duty to ensure that the correct package for their individual needs is purchased, they can only do so when all material information is displayed upfront, which is not the case currently,” it said.

Telkom was ordered by the ASA to amend its website advertising as well as withdraw the television commercial and not use it again in its current format.

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