Virgin Media: ‘Unlimiting’ ad, painfully limited service

virgin_mediaSo it’s goodbye Usain Bolt – for now at least – and hello “average dad” in Virgin Media’s new ad campaign, which makes a big deal of the “unlimiting” potential of the brand’s TV, broadband, mobile and home phone offering, while trying to demonstrate the endless possibilities for customers.
The activity has been devised by recently appointed Adam & Eve/DDB, one of Campaign magazine’s “chosen few”. If you don’t believe us, check out the recent article in which the agency’s departing co-founder David Golding gushed: “Being brilliant is just what Adam & Eve/DDB is.”
Well, we think we’ll be the judge of that, don’t you, mister?
So, back to the ad (which just so happened to land the “Pick of the Week” from its Haymarket fanclub). To quote the press release: “Directed by the immensely talented Ian Pons Jewell [did he actually insist on that phrase?] with Academy, the new TV ad follows a dad as he realises he can do anything thanks to his new Virgin Media Ultimate Oomph bundle.
“The ad dramatises the unlimiting freedom of Virgin Media’s services, building on the dad’s new ‘I can do anything’ mindset, from the amusingly simple – completing a crossword – to making new friends and even thinking he can fly; culminating with a darkly comical ending.” [In a nutshell, he drives over a cliff.]
Virgin Media director of brand and marketing Cilesta Van Doorn insisted that the ad draws upon the company’s “Virginness in an irreverent and rebellious way, bringing feeling of unlimiting to life. This is the first step on our journey to become the most irresistible brand in our market – and out of it”.
Meanwhile Adam & Eve/DDB chief creative officer Richard Brim banged on: “The moment we started working with the Virgin Media team, our shared ambition has been simple – to inject a new creative energy into the brand with a new promise for its customers. It’s also just been a lot of fun working with such an iconic brand at a really interesting time for them.”
So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office, which, funnily enough, is already signed up to Virgin Media’s Oomph bundle? Is Ian Pons Jewell “immensely talented” or just a Pons? Is it worthy of the Campaign Pick of the Week or is it just another ad which isn’t a Turkey?
Well, it chugs along OK, “average dad” does a few non-average things, and it’s not too annoying. However, we hear you ask, does the brand live up to its “unlimiting” potential? As an Oomph bundle customer, we’re afraid to report it doesn’t. Half the time, our broadband is, more often than not, slower than a sloth, the landline is bombarded with scammers pretending to be from Virgin, the mobile data is regularly down and the TV costs an arm and a leg.
So maybe, just maybe, Virgin Media should spend some cash sorting out its services before it shells out mega bucks to a top London ad agency to tell everyone how brilliant it is.
Then again, apparently, “being brilliant” is what they both do…

Decision Marketing Adometer: 5 out of 10 (there’s no point if you can’t deliver the goods)

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