AT&T’s Implied Reliability Claims for DirecTV, U-verse Internet

March 20th, 2019

An AT&T TV commercial doesn’t call out cable or any competitor by name but given the company’s long-running war with cable giant Comcast, an educated guess could tell you who the target is.

But when the National Advertising Division, acting on a challenge it received from Comcast, recommended that AT&T modify or discontinue claims in the ad that suggest its television and internet services are more reliable than those offered by cable companies like Comcast, AT&T objected.

“AT&T argued that the challenged claims are monadic (i.e., not comparative), and merely touted that AT&T’s U-Verse Internet and DirecTV have greater than 99% reliability,” states the NAD release.

NAD saw it differently. It broke down the ad in question (which unfortunately could not locate):

NAD determined that at least one message reasonably conveyed by AT&T’s portrayal of an unnamed, generic service provider experiencing a simultaneous internet and television outage, juxtaposed with the statement, “Life is too short for unreliable entertainment,” is that the unreliable, generic service provider is cable.

And by extension, Comcast.

Comparative claims — direct or implied — require substantiation. In this case, that would mean scientific evidence that AT&T’s television and internet services are more reliable than Comcast’s.

AT&T is appealing the decision.

Find more of our coverage on AT&T and Comcast here.

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