The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld two complaints against Virgin Media with regards to its "Real deal" press campaign.
The national and regional press ads featured the headline "The real deal" and included a table comparing Virgin Media's and Sky's TV, broadband and phone services.
Beside the section 'TV', the text for Virgin Media stated "Our top TV package (XL) plus access to a library of over 500 films, 1000s of music videos and TV shows you can control like a DVD And we provide free servicing and repairs." For Sky, the text stated "Their top TV package (6 Mixes) Plus nothing."
Sky's complaint said that the ad was not explicit that "the access to a library of over 500 films" with Virgin's XL package was a pay-per-view service, rather than included in the price. It also said that the ads misrepresented the Sky 6-mix offering, implying there were no additional services, when these customers could have access to Sky Box Office, Sky Anytime on PC or Sky Plus.
Haha wtf, some of Virgins excuses were totally lame!! They didnt know Sky have a 2Mbps service, so they added £5.00 to the price comparison for Sky's 8Mbps service, yet they have used it in past promotions as a comparison.
They "forgot" about Sky's extra services such as Sky Box Office, Sky+ and Sky Anytime, which are as comparable, if not better in many ways, then the services offered by Virgin.
The "real deal" is actually only a special promotion that will run for a limited time (12 months) for people who take it.
Lmao, as far as ads go, this is pretty below the belt, its not actually un-true what they stated - but its totally unfair not to make equal and correct comparisons with each service.
Glad to see the ASA agree:
"We nevertheless considered that this information was not prominent enough to make clear that "the real deal" was a promotional offer and there would be a price rise of at least £9 a month after the deal had expired. We therefore concluded that the claims "the real deal", in [the] ads and the claim "The Real Price" were ambiguous and that both ads were misleading by omission, because they did not make sufficiently clear that the Virgin offer was a time-limited promotion or give prominent information about the standard price of the service."
"We considered that this was compounded by the use of the text 'plus nothing' in Sky's section of the comparison, because it did not include Sky's pay-per-view content and, by doing so, implied access to all of Virgin's library was inclusive. Because it was not, we considered the ad to be misleading on this point," the ASA stated.
By stating prominently in the ads that Sky's DSL network became slower with distance in the body copy of the ad, but not making a statement of equivalent prominence about Virgin Media's own broadband speed limitation, the ASA said was "unfair."
"We also acknowledged that Virgin had not used Sky's most comparable internet product of 2 Mb when making the comparison. However, because Virgin had not shown that the typical speeds achieved by their users were close enough to 2 Mb to mean that their experience was not affected in any meaningful way, we concluded that the claim was misleading by omission," the adjudication said.
The ASA has advised Virgin not to repeat the ads and requested it seeks assistance for the amendments from the CAP (Codes of Advertising Practice) Copy Advice team.
Come on Virgin, comparisons are great for customers who dont know, especially if the service is cheaper and everything is clearly laid out as it should be. This is just pathetic imho, probably the most devious advert I have known in the industry in recent times tbh.
Get it together. Digital Spy Report