Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What Rogers' $10-million fine teaches us about advertising

The competition bureau has ruled that Rogers Communications has misled consumers with advertising that claims their new Chatr service is more reliable than its competition's services. It was found that despite Rogers' claims in their advertising, there was no discernible difference in dropped calls between their service and the ones offered by new entrants. This was deemed to be misleading and unduly damaging to the competition, and could end up in a fine of $10-million or more (if the judge agrees to retribution for consumers).

Now, Rogers is certainly being held up as an example, and it's easier to pick on the big boys, but it does bring to light some important lessons that small businesses and marketers should remember as you advertise:
  1. Don't make a claim you can't support. Simply saying that your product is "the best" without backing it up is lazy and, it would seem, potentially costly for you!
  2. If your competition is making claims that you know they can't support, you have an avenue for challenging their claims.
  3. If you do have data to support your claim, make sure it's good data. Rogers is fighting this ruling, but I wonder how valid their data is. Don't just go ask 3 of your friends if your pizza is the best pizza they've ever tasted then call it the "Best tasting pizza in _____" (makes you wonder how many dentists were actually surveyed to support the claim "4 out of 5 dentists recommend ____" - perhaps 5?).
  4. Be specific with claims. Don't say you have the best pizza, say you have the best Hawaiian pizza East of Hawaii. Helps your product stick out in the consumers' minds.
  5. If I read/see/hear one more company claim to have "the best quality, price and service", I'm going to... You can't be all 3!

1 comment:

Glenn Cressman said...

UPDATE: Turns out that Rogers has MORE dropped calls, despite claiming in ads that it has fewer! Oooooops.