No more muppets!

EE, the UK’s largest mobile network have challenged Three mobile’s claim on the TV advert that it is ‘the undisputed and ‘most reliable network’. As a result of this challenge, the advertising watchdog has banned Three’ s Muppet-themed ad campaign.

Many of our readers will be familiar with the advert which features Jackson, a Muppet-like creation of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, in boxing gloves along with the strapline: “The undisputed. UK’s most reliable network. Again.”

Rival network EE initially took to social media to discuss the claims on the ad, posting a tweet with the dictionary definition of the word “undisputed” and challenged whether the wording was misleading.

Three UK said the ad’s claims were based on a YouGov report in which it had beaten rivals in five consecutive quarters in a comparison about network reliability. The company also said that there was no standard, objective industry test for network reliability, so the best way to determine it was to ask customers.

The Advertising Standards Authority said the ad did not make it clear that the claim “undisputed” was based on consumer views, and that those who saw the ad would think it was based on fact and “robust objective measures”.

“Because we understood that there were no commonly agreed objective measures of network reliability against which 3 UK had undisputedly scored higher than their competitors, we concluded that the claim ‘The undisputed’ as used in the context of the ad was likely to mislead,” said the ASA.

“The ad must not appear again in its current form. We also told them not to state or imply that Three was the UK’s most reliable network unless they made clear that the claim was based solely on a survey of consumer opinions.”

Further to the decision, a spokesman for Three UK protected the company’s track record and said “We have been recognised by consumers, based on their direct feedback to YouGov, as the UK’s most reliable network for an incredible seven quarters in a row. Technical tests conducted by Rootmetrics have also recently named us as the most reliable network, so we are naturally surprised and disappointed by the ASA’s decision. We are analysing the ruling before deciding our next step.”

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