Virgin Media’s Usain Bolt TV spot banned

Virgin Media has been banned from running a TV spot starring Olympic hopeful Usain Bolt telling viewers to “say bye-bye buffering” after rival BT complained the the claim was misleading.


The spot, promoting the company’s “superfast broadband” service, ran earlier this year as part of series of adverts featuring the 100 metre Olympic champion.

In the ad, Bolt says: “Hi I’m Richard Branson and I want everyone to say bye-bye to buffering and hello to superfast broadband.”

BT objected to the spot’s use of the phrase “say bye-bye to buffering”, and whether it implied that Virgin Media customers would not experience any buffering.

In its defence, Virgin Media said that it had taken steps to make sure that the claim in the ad was “not definitive”.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the spot must not appear again in its current form, adding: “because we understood that users of the service might still experience buffering, we concluded that the claim was misleading.” The advertising watchdog warned Virgin Media not to “state or imply” that users of broadband service would not experience buffering in future campaigns.

Elsewhere, the regulator banned the broadband provider from running definitive claims on its website about its download speeds. The ASA has banned an ad, which claimed that the service was “up to 7 times faster than the UK average broadband speed.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here