Comparative Advertising

Telecaster Services of thinktv recognizes that, when used truthfully and fairly, comparative advertising provides the consumer with needed and useful information. However, extreme caution should be exercised. The use of comparative advertising, by its very nature, can convey information to the consumer that misrepresents the truth.

Therefore, Telecaster Services believe that comparative advertising should comply with the following guidelines:

  1. The intent and connotation of the commercial should be to inform and never to discredit or unfairly attack competitors, competing products or services. Emphasis should be placed on the relative benefits of the products or services rather than the defects of competitive products or services.
  2. When a competitive product is named, it should be one that exists in the marketplace as significant competition. For example, it would be unfair to state “costs 40% less than Brand X” when Brand X has an insignificant share, but the other leading brands are comparably priced.
  3. The competition should be fairly and properly identified when specific claims are being made about their products, but never in a manner or tone of voice that degrades the competitive product or service. Grimaces or disdainful voices should be avoided. In addition, products should be shown in comparable light (e.g. background colour, setting, light, music).
  4. The advertising should compare related or similar properties or ingredients of the product, dimension to dimension, feature to feature. Comparative advertising should not isolate and highlight only the superior attributes of the product to imply overall superiority.
  5. The identification of a competitor should be for honest comparison purposes and not simply to upgrade by association. If for example, one were stating that software replaces a particular model of software which holds the lion share of the market, the obvious intention of the use of the name would be to gain awareness by association.
  6. If a competitive test is conducted, it should be done by an objective testing source, preferably an independent one, so that there will be no doubt as to the veracity of the test. In the event that internal tests are relied upon due to superior testing facilities and/or technology, an executive of the advertiser should verify the findings in writing and include an executive summary in layman terms of the research findings.
  7. In all cases the test should be supportive of all claims made in the advertising that are based on the test and reflective (visually and/or orally) of the test represented in the ad.
  8. The advertising should never use partial results or stress insignificant differences to cause the consumer to draw a false conclusion. Overall superiority should not be implied based on singular attribute differences.
  9. The property being compared should be measurable and significant in terms of value or usefulness of the product to the consumer. For example, comparison of minute ingredients, such as the salt used in the pickles served on a hamburger, should not be the subject of comparative comment.
  10. Comparatives delivered through the use of testimonials should not imply that the testimonial is more than one individual thought unless that individual represents a sample of the majority viewpoint. An advertiser cannot say through a third party testimonial what it knows to be untrue. (e.g., “I think this product is so much more effective than the leading brand”.)
  11. Comparative advertising, by its nature, raises various legal issues, such as trademark and copyright. It is recommended that an advertiser obtain legal advice before submitting commercials to Telecaster Services. Notwithstanding acceptance of a commercial for broadcast as always, the advertiser remains solely responsible for its content.
  12. Telecaster Services requires each advertiser to provide an Attestation Letter (on advertiser letterhead) confirming that all claims are true as well as provide a brief description of how they have been substantiated. Telecaster Services makes no further enquiry and is not qualified to review test results or data provided by the Advertiser to support any such claims.