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Advertiser: Virgin Media
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 4.22
A television advertisement for Virgin Media stated:
“Movie buffs and sports fans are about to clash because the sale that stacks up is back. Switch to Virgin Media and get superfast broadband and TV with Virgin Media Sport and now with the choice of Sky Sports or Sky Cinema. All for an awesome €55 a month for 12 months and €89 a month after that.
The sale that stacks up now on. see virginmedia.ie”
An onscreen footnote stated:
“T&Cs apply. Subject to availability. New customers only. 12-month contact. Mix 250 €89 a month after offer, with Sky Cinema €109 or Sky Sports €129. 250Mb achieved by at least 50% of customers on a wired connection at peak times. Offer ends 02/10/2019. See virginmedia.ie”
The complainant considered that the advertising was misleading as it had stated that the price for the bundle including Sky Sports or Sky Cinema was €89 after 12 months when the price of the bundle with Sky Sports was actually €129 or with Sky Cinema was €109.
The advertisers stated that they had launched a sale offering new customers who purchased a television and broadband bundle from Virgin Media the choice of either Sky Sports or Sky Cinema free for the first 12 months. They said that the offer price was from €55 for the first 12 months and after that period customers would pay €89 per month. If a customer wished to continue with either their Sky Cinema or Sky Sport subscription after the free period, they would be charged either €109 or €129 respectively. They said that they had made this clear in all terms and conditions related to the offer, including the terms and conditions that were shown on screen during the advertisement.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted that the product being advertised was a television and broadband bundle with a choice of either Sky Sports or Sky Cinema that had been advertised at a price of €55 per month for the first 12 months and then for €89 per month. While the Committee accepted that the footnote had clarified that the advertised price of €89 had applied to the bundle excluding Sky Sports or Sky Cinema, the main headline message of the advertisement was that the price was €89. As the price in the headline message did not include Sky Sports or Sky Cinema the advertisement should have stated that the price after 12 months was “from €89”. In the absence of such a clarification, the Committee considered that the advertisement was in breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4 and 4.22 of the Code.
The advertisement must not reappear in its current form again. The Complaints Committee told the advertisers to ensure that future similar offers include “from” pricing in the headline offer.
The Committee drew advertisers’ attention generally to ASAI’s guidance note on Marketing Communications for Mobile Phone and Broadband Services for future advertising.