Ad Watchdog slaps AOL

This month it's AOL's turn to be told off by the Advertising Standards Authority. In a recent national press ad, it went with its usual Free! Free! Free! approach (even though it never is for long).

It read: "Free reasons to try AOL. FREE 99 hour trial. FREE Internet call charges. FREE helpline. Want some more reasons to try us? How about, we're the world's No.1 Internet Service Provider with over 30 million members? Or that we've got... etc etc".

And it ends: "And the best reason of all? It's still the only genuinely free trial around."

The ASA decided that most readers would infer that AOL was the only ISP that offered free subscription and Internet call charges. Which it doesn't because while competitor Freeserve doesn't offer a free helpline number, that is not an integral part of a free deal, it decided. Thus the ad was misleading [Apologies to readers for an earlier error where we suggested AOL was charging for the helpline].

Who complained to the ASA in the first place? Why, Freeserve of course.

News source: theregister.co.uk

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