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SBD/July 26, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship
Standards Agency Forces Virgin Media To Remove Usain Bolt Ads From U.K. Airways
Published July 26, 2012
MISLEADING AD: MARKETING WEEK's Sebastian Joseph reported that the ASA ruled that the ad "must not appear again in its current form." The ASA said, “Because we understood that users of the service might still experience buffering, we concluded that the claim was misleading.” The ASA warned Virgin Media not to “state or imply” that users of broadband service would not experience buffering in future campaigns (MARKETINGWEEK.co.uk, 7/25). THE REGISTER's Kelly Fiveash wrote that this is "an expensive mistake" for Virgin Media. The company spent US$81.3M on marketing costs in its first quarter. Much of that was spent on TV, print, online and billboard ads "featuring Bolt wearing a fake gingery-blond beard." Also, the ASA slapped Virgin Media for "failing to substantiate claims it made on its website about the company's download speeds" (THEREGISTER.co.uk, 7/25).