A TV advert starring Ryan Reynolds has been banned by the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) for misleading viewers. The BT ad sees Hollywood star Ryan hanging out of a helicopter to test the strength of his Wi-Fi signal. He states that he still has a signal at 200 metres, as text appears on screen claiming that BT's Smart Hub is the "UK's most powerful Wi-Fi signal versus major broadband providers".
Ryan also features in an accompanying radio advert, saying: "Hi, I’m Ryan Reynolds and I'm here to talk to you about the new BT Smart Hub with the UK's most powerful Wi-Fi signal. I'd say outside it could reach the length of at least 12 London buses … UK's most powerful Wi-Fi signal versus major broadband providers."
The ASA, which received 61 complaints about the ads, said testing had shown that the BT Smart Hub could provide a signal to 200 metres, but not that it was better than other options on the market. It said the adverts led the public to believe that the BT Smart Hub provided a stronger signal than routers from any other broadband provider. The ASA has now ruled that the ads must not appear again in their original form, adding: "We told BT to ensure that they made the basis of comparative claims clear in order to avoid giving a misleading impression to consumers."
In a statement released to Metro, BT said: "BT is pleased that the ASA concluded that the BT Smart Hub offers the most powerful Wi-Fi signal in the UK, compared to major broadband providers like Sky, Virgin Media and TalkTalk. We're disappointed that these rulings were upheld on a technicality, namely that we didn't make it clear enough that the comparison was against major broadband providers only and didn't include hubs from smaller broadband providers.
"We'll continue to use the claims that we have evidenced for the ASA - that the Smart Hub offers better Wi-Fi coverage and the UK's most powerful Wi-Fi signal - although we will in future give more prominence to the fact that the comparison is against major broadband rivals."