Television Ads

Published on July 17th, 2014

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Comcast agrees to pull ‘disparaging’ phrase in AT&T parody

Comcast has agreed to pull a phrase from one of its TV commercials after it was found to be “falsely disparaging” of a competitor’s product.

The commercial features a fictional AT&T sales rep who clumsily attempts to cajole a Comcast family into switching service with a demonstration of AT&T’s U-verse wireless receiver.

According to a release from NAD:

During the course of the spot, the technician rips the family’s large, wall-mounted television out of the wall and demolishes a large aquarium, bookshelf, and lamp. The commercial concludes with a voiceover that states: ‘Don’t get U-ped [rhymes with ‘duped’] by U-verse. Get the most entertainment on any device anywhere with Xfinity from Comcast.’

AT&T brought the complaint to NAD, which determined that the phrase “Don’t get U-ped by U-verse” was “falsely disparaging” of the wireless receiver and should be pulled from the commercial, the release said.

AT&T also challenged the second phrase (“Get the most entertainment…”), but NAD found that phrase to communicate “an accurate message regarding the breadth of the advertiser’s library of content.”

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The National Advertising Division, or NAD, is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. NAD asks advertisers to substantiate or change their claims in advertisements. As part of a voluntary system of self-regulation, however, its recommendations can be ignored by the offending advertisers. In those instances, NAD refers the offender to federal consumer protection agencies.

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