The Inquirer-Home

Virgin Media 'Faster for a fiver' ad is banned

Small print, big problem
Wed Apr 25 2012, 10:40

AN ADVERTISEMENT for low-priced broadband services from Virgin Media cannot be shown again in its present form.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has taken action against the firm and its advert after one person complained that its small print terms were just too damn small.

Virgin Media disputed this, but the ASA disagreed with it. This means that the ad has gone into the dustbin of marketing history.

The advert offered details on a deal from Virgin Media that promised broadband that is "Faster for a fiver".

"Our up to 30Mb broadband is four times faster than the UK average," it said. "And it's all yours for just £5 a month for the first three months, then £18.50 after that. Virgin phone line applies."

Underneath this, naturally, was a decent litany of qualifying text presented in a much smaller font. and the ASA looked at whether the original complaint, that this was not legible, made the larger claims look misleading.

Virgin made some defence, saying that the small print should be visible to normal sighted people and that it had no control over the quality of the printing, but the ASA was insistent. "We considered this information to be material to consumers' understanding of the offer," it said. "Because the small print was not presented clearly, and contained material information, we concluded that the ad was misleading."

The offending advert will never appear in that form again, but given the nature of all advertising, we recommend that shoppers always keep their eyeglasses with them. µ


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