The UKs Advertising Standards Authority has ruled against mobile network Three over one of its advertising campaigns, #makeitright. The particular advertisement (shown above) makes a claim that its network is the "UK's most reliable" and that it is an "undisputed" claim.
A rival network to Three, EE, disagreed with the company's claims, noting that it was misleading and could be substantiated, therefore decided to lodge a complaint with the ASA, as did a member of the public. After investigating the advertisement, the authority ruled against the firm, meaning the advert can never be shown again in its current form.
The authority detailed multiple reasons for upholding the complaint. It said that as the YouGov logo was not prominently visible and that it "could be overlooked by readers", it was not clear that the claim of being most reliable and undisputed were based on subjective consumer opinion rather than an industry-wide common scale of reliability, which does not exist.
As part of the complaint resolution, the authority outlined what the company can and cannot do in both this advertisement, and future campaigns:
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Hutchinson 3G UK Ltd t/a Three not to state or imply that Three was undisputedly the UK’s most reliable network unless they could demonstrate that there were commonly agreed objective measures for network reliability, that Three had scored the best against those measures, and that there was no other evidence to the contrary. 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.
Following the case resolution, EE decided to continue its fight with Three over on social media. It took to Twitter to mock the network over its #makeitright campaign:
EEs snarky comment may have backfired, as it became a hotbed of complaints in response to the tweet, with customers complaining of delays in refunds, customer service failing to resolve account issues and an overall poor experience:
Three, a subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa, has not had a great time over the past few months. Today it was told that it cannot merge with rival network O2, as the EU blocked the merger proposal. Back in January, the network came under fire over "forced" price hikes to one of its most popular service plans.