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.

VirginMediaAd

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

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

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

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

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 are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

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

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

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