Skype ad banned by regulator

LONDON - A TV ad for Skype has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for exaggerating the sound and picture quality of the web telephony service.

Five viewers complained that the ad, created by Albion, misrepresented the sound and picture quality that could be achieved using Skype.

Skype Technologies defended the spot, saying it advertised the Skype video call software rather than the hardware via which it was delivered. Factors including the speed and quality of a user’s broadband connection would make a difference to the quality of a Skype call.

The advertiser said the ad aimed to show the product at its best and therefore used the best equipment with which to demonstrate it.

It explained that for technical reasons a webcam had not been used in the ad and so the Skype video call shown was not in real time. Recordings made via webcam were not high quality enough to be used for a TV ad.

Skype explained that the ad was filmed in such a way as to mimic a real time video call and pointed out that the image blurred and slowed when the man moved his laptop to reveal his partner and baby.

The ASA felt that although the CAP code allowed the use of techniques to overcome technical problems when filming TV ads, viewers would infer that the sound and picture quality demonstrated in the ad was typical of the performance that all users could expect to achieve.

The watchdog concluded that the ad must not be broadcast again in its current form and in future should include some qualifying text to make clear that performance was reliant on the speed and quality of a user's broadband connection.