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Virgin Media has its wrist slapped by ASA again for broadband ad

Mislead customers with 'doubling broadband speeds' claim
Wed Jun 27 2012, 15:38
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UK BROADBAND PROVIDER Virgin Media might be in Ofcom's good books today, but the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) apparently isn't a fan, as it chided the internet service provider (ISP) today for "misleading" customers with regard to broadband speeds in its commercials.

The ASA followed up a complaint by rival ISP British Sky Broadcasting after it highlighted small print in Virgin's ad that said "Cabled areas only" and "100Mb customers will see [a] price-cut instead of speed doubling", which contradicted the main claim.

Sky's complaint also disputed the script, "I'm doubling everyone's broadband speeds" that appeared in one video ad and, "Richard Branson's doubling your broadband speed" in another, saying that these too mislead customers because exclusions applied.

The adverts, like an earlier Virgin Media promotion that was blocked in May, featured sprinter Usain Bolt.

The ASA said the ads implied that Virgin Media was doubling broadband speeds across the board, when it was in fact only doubling speeds for some, with 100Mbit/sec customers seeing a price cut instead of a speed upgrade.

"Because the exclusions contradicted the main headline claim and because not all Virgin customers would have their broadband speeds doubled, we concluded that ad was misleading," the ASA's ruling said.

A Virgin Media spokesperson told The INQUIRER, "We've proactively communicated details of the 100Mb speed boost, and accompanying reduction in the monthly subscription, to all our customers directly and within this online ad but will make sure that we're even clearer about how we're bringing some of the UK's fastest broadband to Virgin Media customers."

This isn't the first time that Virgin media has had its wrist slapped by the ASA. The repeat offender got told off almost exactly a year ago when the ASA ruled it had mislead customers in a broadband ad that, ironically enough, berated its rival ISPs for allegedly misleading advertising practices. µ


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