Global Media

Virgin Media & BT in Bitter Bristol Advert Row


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Virgin Media has called out BT’s dubious, unsubstantiated advertising with a cheeky and provocative stunt that highlights the strength of Virgin Media’s network.

BT’s billboards, which are currently deployed in Bristol, claim that residents in the area shouldn’t “settle for Virgin” and instead opt for services provided by the century-old company which started life as a telegraph operator.

However, Virgin Media would have you believe that the phrase is “BornFast” and not “BullShit” like most who read it will immediately presume.

Virgin Media’s network covers almost 300,000 premises in Bristol with its top packages having an average speed of 516Mbps – significantly faster than BT’s Ultrafast Fibre 250. Virgin Media, through private investment, is also expanding its footprint and rolling out next-generation gigabit speeds (1Gbps) across its entire network of 15 million premises, delivering more than half of the government’s broadband target by the end of 2021. Currently BT’s gigabit ambition is limited to 4 million premises with the possibility of going further under the right conditions.

To kick off the #BornFast stunt, mobile billboards will be placed in front of the BT posters in locations across Bristol, ensuring residents get the message in a fun and humorous way – all in the spirit of clarity and competition. The stunt is also being supported by content on Virgin Media’s social media channels with the potential to bring the billboards to other areas in future.

Cilesta Van Doorn, Brand and Marketing Director at Virgin Media said: “BT’s broadband bunkum just couldn’t go unchecked. Residents of Bristol won’t be fooled by BT’s babble and we look forward to welcoming anyone who wants to experience life in the fast lane with our superior ultrafast speeds. With a reliable future-proof network that is bringing gigabit speeds to Bristol and more of the UK, Virgin Media is, as always, leading the charge – catch us if you can.”

Virgin Media has formally challenged BT’s advert and has contacted the provider. BT has not yet responded with evidence to justify the claims made on their billboard.