Virgin hit by ban double whammy

A Usain Bolt ad for Virgin Media bundles is one of two ads for the company which has been banned this week after the Advertising Standards Authority received a raft of complaints about misleading claims.
The first campaign, by Rapp, included a TV ad featuring the 100m world record holder. Backed by press and door-drops, it promoted the company’s telecoms packages, claiming they were available for as little as £7 a month.
But 18 complainants challenged whether the ads were misleading, because the cost of the Virgin phone line was compulsory, yet was not included in the headline price.
Following an investigation, the ASA found that as consumers had to have a Virgin phone line, the prices quoted were misleading and ruled the ad should not run again in its current form.
The second ad in a technology magazine was headed: “Put yourself in pole position with up to 50Mb broadband.” Further text stated “Get the edge in gaming with the UK’s fastest broadband”. But BT challenged whether the claim “UK’s fastest broadband” was misleading and could be substantiated.
Virgin conceded that the ads which used the “UK’s fastest broadband” claim usually included caveats that the claim was made in relation to broadband services that were widely available to UK consumers, although this ad had not.
According to Ofcom, niche providers in some areas did provide higher speeds. The ASA therefore ruled this ad was also misleading and banned it.

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