New York, NY – October 11, 2023 – A panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate advertising body of BBB National Programs, recommended that Google, LLC discontinue the claim that its YouTube TV service is “$600 less than cable.”
The advertising at issue had been challenged by Charter Communications, Inc. in a National Advertising Division’s (NAD) Fast-Track SWIFT challenge, an expedited process designed for single-issue advertising cases. The claim appeared in two of Google’s commercials for YouTube TV service. Following NAD’s decision (Case No. 7233), Google appealed NAD’s recommendation to discontinue the challenged advertising claim.
The challenged “$600 less than cable” claim, was accompanied by a disclosure identifying “comparable standalone cable” as the basis of comparison. The price calculation underlying the challenged claim included the cost of two set-top boxes per household for “standalone cable” services.
The NARB panel determined that the commercial disclosures were not clear and conspicuous.
Further, in agreement with NAD, the NARB panel concluded that at least one reasonable interpretation of the challenged claim is that YouTube TV is $600 less than any comparable service available from companies traditionally associated with cable services. However, this comparison does not align with the challenged claim because:
For these reasons, the NARB panel adopted NAD’s recommendation that Google discontinue the claim that its YouTube TV service is “$600 less than cable.”
Google stated that it “disagrees with NARB’s determination that people watching the challenged commercials will somehow understand ‘cable’ to mean something other than traditional cable television,” however it “intends to modify or cease the disputed advertising claim.” Google further stated that, at a later date it “may reconsider the claim based on updated information.”
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs, a non-profit organization, is the home of U.S. independent industry self-regulation, currently operating more than a dozen globally recognized programs that have been helping enhance consumer trust in business for more than 50 years. These programs provide third-party accountability and dispute resolution services that address existing and emerging industry issues, create a fairer playing field for businesses, and a better experience for consumers. BBB National Programs continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-and-teen-directed marketing, data privacy, dispute resolution, automobile warranty, technology, and emerging areas. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.
About the National Advertising Review Board (NARB): The National Advertising Review Board (NARB) is the appellate body for BBB National Programs’ advertising self-regulatory programs. NARB’s panel members include 85 distinguished volunteer professionals from the national advertising industry, agencies, and public members, such as academics and former members of the public sector. NARB serves as a layer of independent industry peer review that helps engender trust and compliance in NAD, CARU, and DSSRC matters.