Rogers Free to Make “Fastest” Claims in Ontario

by Jordan Richardson on June 3, 2010

Advertising is a funny business. Almost entirely based on making outlandish or unverifiable claims, the crap the marketing companies unleash on the masses is obscene in its scope and ludicrous in just about every other way.

But advertising is also important, say the experts, and attaching goodwill to your brand of choice is vital. Apple follows this sort of thing to a T, for instance, and it’s managed to build a small army of relentless, bulging Appleites ready to do their bidding at a moment’s notice.

You can imagine, then, the importance of Rogers’ claim that they possess the “fastest and most reliable” internet service in Canada. Even if the claim isn’t particularly true, it’s the association of the claim that counts. In other words, it doesn’t matter if Rogers actually offers the fastest or most reliable service in Canada at all. It only matters that you think it does.

The claims, made in advertising from Rogers across the country, were ceased in British Columbia and New Brunswick after a judge ordered Canada’s biggest wireless phone company to shut it down. But an Ontario judge has granted Rogers the right to air the commercials in that province.

Rogers’ advertisements making the claim have been in play since 2008 and their “rivals,” Telus and Bell, have been getting a little hot under the collar ever since.

Superior Court Justice Darla A. Wilson struck down Bell’s injunction in Ontario, however, and stated that damages to Bell’s bottom line couldn’t be proven and, therefore, the advertisements didn’t have any adverse effect on Bell’s business. Said Wilson, “There is no justification for the court to interfere in the advertising war between these two large corporations.”

The ruling in Ontario doesn’t impact the rulings in B.C. or New Brunswick.

Bell wasn’t too happy with the judgment from Wilson, of course, and stated that the advertisements mattered because Rogers’ claims are flat-out false.

These sorts of cases have happened across the country, with each of Canada’s top three providers dipping in and out of court over claims that they are the “fastest” or “most reliable” company based on their own research. This sort of absurdity is nothing new and the idea of bogus or ambiguous claims making headway in the public square is common too. Just ask Sarah Palin.

At the core of all of this is reputation, naturally, and reputation matters immensely. When the Applelites and Sarah Palin “fans” of the world follow a product and/or void, synthetic vessel to the ends of the earth based on the words and “claims” of so-called “research” and “facts,” it’s easy to see why this Rogers judgment matters in Ontario. Advertising counts. And this round went to the “fastest” provider in Canada.

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