NAD: DirecTV Should Tweak or Halt 4K Ad Claims

DirecTV to Appeal Complaint Lodged by Charter
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Hannah and her horse.jpg

The 4K era has barely begun, but it’s already become a point of contention between pay TV rivals.

The National Advertising Division announced that it has recommended that DirecTV modify or discontinue certain advertising claims tied to its 4K programming and wireless set-top capabilities following a complaint lodged by Charter Communications.

DirecTV currently offers a selection of 4K titles for its Genie platform and on Samsung and LG UHD TVs. Sports Video Group reported recently that DirecTV expects to launch a live 4K offering in early 2016. DirecTV also offers customers a wireless whole-home HD-DVR option.

NAD said it recommends that DirecTV tweak or stop some pricing claims, wireless claims and claims that “suggest that all of DirecTV’s programming is available via 4K technology.”

NAD, an investigative division of the ad industry’s system that is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, noted that DirecTV said it plans to appeal the NAD’s findings to the National Advertising Review Board.

DirecTV “supports self-regulatory process and appreciates NAD’s efforts in reviewing the challenged advertising.  However, DIRECTV disagrees with NAD that the advertising subject to review had the potential to convey any misleading impressions regarding DIRECTV’s service. Accordingly, DIRECTV will be appealing the decision to the NARB,” DirecTV said in its advertiser’s statement, according to NAD.

Charter’s complaint centers on DirecTV’s ad campaign – Hannah and Her Horse – that features Sports Illustrated model Hannah Davis and a talking horse.

Per NAD, Charter’s beef had to do with a series of claims about  DirecTV’s services, including:

-DIRECTV has 4K, the best picture format available.

-DIRECTV is wireless.  So you can put your TVs anywhere without having to look at ugly wires and boxes in every room.

-Say goodbye to messy cable wires and boxes. 

-Enjoy entertainment wirelessly on every TV in your home.

-Wirelessly power up to 8 TVs with just one Genie HD DVR and Wireless Genie Minis.

-DIRECTV customers can get a free Genie HD DVR upgrade.

Here’s one of the ads about DirecTV’s 4K offering that is subject to the complaint:

NAD said it also considered whether the challenges claims implied that “most of all of DirecTV’s programming is available in 4K,” and whether subs can get the provider’s 4K content and wireless service for $19.99 per month, and that DirecTV “has eliminated the need for wires and set-top boxes.”

The key issue, NAD said, was the quantity of DirecTV content that’s available in 4K, and concerns that the ads could “reasonably convey” that DirecTV offers a substantial amount of content in 4K format.

While agreeing that DirecTV should be able to promote the benefits of its 4K offering, “the advertiser offers only a small number of movies in 4K and not general programming.” NAD recommended that DirecTV tailor the claim by either specifying the number of movies or shows provided in 4K or “otherwise indicate that only a small amount of programming is currently available in 4K.”

NAD also recommended that DirecTV remove the message that 4K programming and the wireless service feature are included in the $19.99 price, and that the operator discontinue the “free” upgrade claim. 

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