Potentially Misleading Skype Ad Banned


In general we’re used to having to apply a little critical thinking to advertising, but it seems there are times when we be put to the bother. Skype’s current advertising campaign has been taken off the air after the Advertising Standards Authority took issue with its representation of its own service.


The issue stemmed from a clip of a father showing off a baby to his own parents using Skype’s video capabilities. The only problem was that the video wasn’t really all that representative of what you can expect if you sign up to Skype and then go on to use its video calling setup for yourself. Indeed, Skype admitted as much to the ASA when it asked about the ad itself; things only get weirder.

Basically, the reasoning behind showing such high quality video was that, “Skype said they wanted the ad to show a Skype video call in its best light and therefore used equipment to demonstrate the best possible quality that could be achieved. They explained that, for technical reasons, they were unable to shoot the ad with a webcam and what was shown in the ad was not a real time Skype video call; a webcam did not possess the quality for the recording to be compressed and then outputted for a TV ad.”

Skype went on to point out that it had made some attempts to match the reality of video calling by adding some blurring and slowdown to those portions of the ad where laptops were being moved around, but it seems not to have been enough. In its final assessment, ASA stated that it “understood Skype had sought to mimic the effect of the blurring and slowness users could experience in a real time video call through the movement of the laptop by a new father.”

To cut a long story short, the ASA ruled that those on the receiving end “would infer that the sound and picture quality depicted in the ad was typical of the performance that all users could achieve.”

The Advertising Standards Authority page on the topic basically just ends with the words, “The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.”


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