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Ads body cuts off Skype ad after pic quality complaints

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Skype has been slapped down by the UK's ad regulator for running a TV ad which showed video and sound quality in excess of what viewers believed the VoiP service could manage in the real world.

The heartwarming ad showed a new father talking to his parents, and at one point in the narrative, moving his laptop so the folks could see the partner and newborn.

According to the Advertising Standards Authority: "Five viewers challenged whether the ad misleadingly exaggerated the sound and picture quality that could be achieved by using Skype."

Skype pointed out that "the quality of a Skype call was reliant upon a number of factors including the speed and quality of the broadband connection and therefore every user's experience would differ".

The firm said it had wanted to show its service in the best possible light. 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".

The video shot for the ersatz call had not been "improved or degraded" and had been filmed to mimic a real video call, the ASA noted. For that real world touch, "they pointed out that when the new father moved his laptop, the image blurred and slowed".

The agency which clears ads before broadcast, Clearcast, agreed with Skype's argument that "the image was representative of an attainable standard, depending on the speed and quality of the viewer's broadband connection".

Sadly for Skype, its message did not get through to the ASA. While it accepted the ad was representative of the best quality that could be achieved, "we concluded that the ad could mislead and should therefore have included qualifying text to make clear that performance depended upon the speed and quality of a users broadband connection".

Therefore, it upheld the complaint, and said the ad must not be reshown in its current form. ®

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