Ad Tales: BBB Division Examines FiOS Ads—Again
The Natl Advertising Div of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that Verizon modify or discontinue some of the ad claims it’s using for FiOS, following a challenge by Cablevision. NAD examined studies, head-to-head comparisons and more to determine that some of the claims regarding superior picture quality weren’t supported. It said evidence was insufficient to support the claims: "so much more bright," "channels came on quicker," "colors were more vivid" and "no pixelation" (but "less pixelation" would be OK). On the other hand, NAD found there was reasonable basis for the claim "Pure Uncompressed High Definition," and customer testimonial claims of "the best TV picture, period," and "the best picture and sound you’re ever gonna get. It’s insane." The squabbling is evidence of the competition in NY and surrounding areas. "We’re not surprised that Cablevision would attempt to prevent Verizon from bringing the facts about FiOS TV to the attention of consumers," a Verizon spokeswoman said. "The bottom line is the NAD’s study found that FiOS TV’s ‘picture was clearer,’ that ‘you can really see the difference between cable and FiOS’ picture quality," and—most importantly—that Verizon can make the claim of ‘the best TV picture, period’ and ‘the best picture and sound you’re ever gonna get.’ Rather than compete on the merits of the service we offer, Cablevision hopes to prevent consumers from getting the truth, and the fact is that Verizon FiOS offers ‘the best TV picture, period.’" NAD said Verizon "respectfully disagrees" with certain findings, but "in the interest of the self-regulatory process, Verizon will take the NAD’s recommendations into consideration in future advertising." Cablevision has brought complaints against FiOS advertising before, which have resulted in NAD recommending Verizon modify its FiOS Internet advertising to clearly convey that it isn’t available to the broad market ( Cfax , 7/1). "This is at least the 3rd time that the NAD has scrutinized Verizon’s advertising and ordered the phone company to make significant changes in the claims it is making to promote its FiOS services, a record that should obviously be considered by consumers in this competitive market," a Cablevision rep said.