British Gas ad banned over misleading efficiency claims

LONDON - A British Gas TV ad has been banned after viewers disputed claims made about the efficiency of the company's service.

British Gas: call-out service ad banned by the ASA
British Gas: call-out service ad banned by the ASA

The ad, created by CHI, has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority today (28 April) after attracting 11 complaints.

The TV animated ad revealed a domestic situation – featuring a family coming and going – which is crudely interrupted when a voiceover states: "Oh, the boiler's not working".  

A British Gas van appears and a man walks from it into the house as the voiceover continues:  "Sometimes you need a little help there". Then the sound of gas ignition is heard, followed by a cheer from the family.  

The voiceover adds: "Which is why you can reach us every day. Even over Christmas".

Finally, a Christmas scene appears and the voiceover says: "Look after your world this Christmas with British Gas".

Those who complained questioned whether British Gas would carry out repairs on the same day, particularly over the Christmas period.

In its defence, British Gas said it did not believe the ad stated, either explicitly or implicitly, that it would attend call-outs and carry out repairs on the same day, particularly over the Christmas period.

It added that the voiceover clearly stated "which is why you can reach us every day, even over Christmas", and said it never intended to advertise its speed of response.

The aim of the ad was said to demonstrate the efficiency of its call centre service and that its high-level of service did not fall over the Christmas period.

Furthermore, British Gas said that Clearcast did not think the ad was misleading over its efficiency claims.

The ASA concluded otherwise and judged that the ad implied a same-day call-out service that formed part of the British Gas package and was likely to mislead.

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