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VIDEO BBC TV Watchdog Scalds Virgin Media for Repeated UK Ad Bans

Saturday, October 13th, 2012 (1:26 am) - Score 2,291

ISPreview.co.uk isn’t the only one to notice the ridiculous amount of banned adverts for Virgin Media’s broadband, phone and TV packages, which the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has repeatedly accused of being “misleading“. This week saw the BBC’s famous consumer affairs TV show, Watchdog, take the ISP to task with a comical twist.

It’s fair to say that other ISPs, such as BT, TalkTalk and Sky Broadband, have also had a good number of similar adverts banned but none more so than Virgin Media. According to Watchdog, the operator has seen 25 of its adverts banned over the last 18 months. So far VM has failed to learn from its mistakes and sometimes even repeats the same errors.

Sadly the ASA has no teeth to penalise repeat offenders and its bans often take effect sometime after the advert has been run. This means that for some firms it could be more profitable to take the risk of having their advert banned at a later date than to simply tame it down and thus potentially leave the product looking less attractive.

The question is will Virgin Media, fearful of all the negative publicity and growing distrust of their advertising methods, now rein itself in. After all it’s not a bad ISP and so shouldn’t really need to resort to such methods.

A VirginMedia Spokesperson told Watchdog:

We recognise that we sometimes make mistakes and, when we do, we put our hands up and do everything we can to fix the problem. But the facts, as Ofcom’s reports consistently prove, are that Virgin Media offers the UK’s fastest widely available broadband and we typically deliver the speeds we promise. This is one of the reasons why, again according to Ofcom, we’re one of the UK’s least complained about telecoms providers.

We always work within advertising guidelines and clear all TV and radio ads before they’re broadcast. We welcome scrutiny of broadband advertising but, given our competitors failure to communicate the speeds the vast majority of their customers actually get, we find the authorities’ failure to address the issues that really matter to consumers deeply frustrating.”

Even their statement turned into a kind of advert, clever.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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