David Tennant and Virgin Media appear to have got their mojo on with a range of TV and Internet ads about their Superfast fiber optic broadband service.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) isn't too happy though, specifically with the "Buffering" TV ad (which can be viewed below) featuring departed Dr Who actor David Tennant, misleadingly implying for a second time that customers who sign up to their super-fast broadband ISP could “say goodbye to buffering” on internet video streams.
The buffering complaint used to be closely associated with Real Media's RealPlayer.
In a slightly amusing twist Virgin Media and Clearcast, the advert producers, agree and stated that Clearcast suggested that its latest promotion made no promise that buffering would no longer be experienced because of the inclusion of the word “could” in the line “You could say bye-bye to buffering with superfast fibre-optic broadband“. This also follows a July 2012 complaint of the same nature that was upheld by the ASA.
The ASA banned the advert in its current form for breaching BCAP Code rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.9 (Substantiation) and 3.12 (Exaggeration). ISPreview also notes that Virgin Media has become a daily feature for the ASA for breaches of code, but without any real way to penalise repeat offenders, we can probably (see what I did there?) expect more of the same to come.
The meat of the complaint by the ASA is as follows:
ASA Assessment (REF: A12-201412)
We considered that the claim “Now from Virgin Media, you could say goodbye to buffering with superfast fibre-optic broadband” could be understood in the intended way but, because it was unclear to which element of the statement the conditional “could” applied, it could equally be understood by viewers to mean that consumers would eliminate buffering if they signed up to the Virgin Media broadband service.
We considered this was exacerbated by the images in the ad of David Tennant destroying the “buffering” symbol, which would be understood by viewers as a visual representation of the complete removal of buffering. Because of the ambiguity of the way in which the claim was presented, we concluded that the ad was misleading.
At the end of the day, any sane person knows by now that every company exaggerates their service, wherever and however they can; think cheap flights: "fly for a quid" only to be hit with taxes, baggage and more.
Luckily we still have the ASA who are protecting our interests, long after the ad has run its course. /sarcasm