DirecTV ran ads promoting its satellite TV service featuring William Shatner in one ad and Jessica Simpson in another (Shatner clip and background here). In the Simpson ad, the claim is made that DirecTV provides the best picutrem and the narrator states “. . .For an HD Picture that can’t be beat, get DirecTV.” Time Warner sued in the Southern District of New York in December, arguing that because the HD quality of both cable and satellite HD service is equivalent, the claim that DirecTV’s picture is the best, is literally false. DirecTV argued that the claim that the picture was the ‘best’ referred to the signal for all channels, including non-HD ones.
Held: Viewing the commercial in its entirety, the claim that the picture was the ‘best’ had to be interpreted in the context that the entire ad focuses exclusively on HD channels, and therefore the claim that the picture was the ‘best’ was literally false. The commercials were enjoined.
Time Warner Cable, Inc. v. DirecTV, 06-CV-14245 (SDNY Feb 5, 2007) (Swain, J). Email me for a copy of the order (too large to upload).