Bruce Willis ad banned from UK TV

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In an unusual show of strength by the Advertising Standards Authority, an ad for Sky broadband has been banned from UK TV for being misleading. The ad, starring Bruce Willis, was, according to the ASA, unclear about the true cost of the service.

Broadband service companies have been used to getting away with being cryptic about the real cost of their services for years, but on this occasion Sky seemed to have been just a little too misleading. The ad's voiceover suggested that the cost of "unlimited" broadband was £7.50 a month. Potential customers tempted by this attention-grabbing figure would have had to freeze-frame the ad and reach for their reading specs to ascertain the truth.

This fee was only on offer to existing Sky subscribers. New customers would have had to sign up to a Sky package that would cost £22 a month. If they wanted Sky TV on top of the broadband their bill would be closer to £44 a month.

After a customer complained, the ASA investigated. Sky claimed the facts were explained in the small print but the ASA pointed out that this information "would by its nature be significantly less prominent than a claim made in a voice-over, and was therefore not an appropriate method of communicating material information relating to the £7.50 price claim."

Misleading claims aside, the ad had a distasteful subtext. Its message seemed to imply that, by demanding a better broadband service, Willis could also claim the personal services of a woman working on the Sky sales team. The ASA did not make any ruling on this offensive subtext, but the ad will no longer be seen on UK screens. Now, if they would just turn their attention to the indignity of former Hollywood superstar Al Pacino also flogging Sky broadband . . .

Bruce Willis did not comment.

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