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U.K. Ad Watchdog Rejects Complaints About Virgin Media TV Spot

David Tennant - P 2012
Ian Gavan/Getty Images
David Tennant

The commercial by the cable giant, owned by John Malone's Liberty Global, starred former "Doctor Who" David Tennant and sprinter Usain Bolt.

LONDON – Britain's advertising watchdog has rejected complaints about a TV advertising campaign for U.K. cable giant Virgin Media that featured former Doctor Who star David Tennant and athlete Usain Bolt.

The Advertising Standards Authority said on Wednesday that it has decided not to uphold the complaints, which centered on broadband speed claims and included one filed by telecom rival BT.

The TV spot for Virgin Media, which is owned by John Malone's Liberty Global, featured Tennant sitting on a sofa and tapping buttons on a laptop, saying: "Isn't it frustrating that sometimes you don't get what you've paid for? Like super-fast broadband."

The commercial then shows a man standing near Tennant, striking sprinter Bolt's signature victory pose. The real Bolt then appears, and the substitute exits before Tennant tells the viewers that with Virgin Media, customers get what they are promised.

The ASA, tasked with investigating such complaints, noted that BT's complaint centered on the fact that it felt the ad implied that Virgin's customers always received "super-fast" broadband speeds.

But in its complaint, BT said that under Virgin's Traffic Management Policy -- mentioned in text on the screen during the ad -- users could have their download speeds reduced by 50 percent, meaning that they might no longer get "super-fast" speeds.

In not upholding the complaints, the ASA said it noted that an Ofcom report submitted by Virgin showed that headline speeds of its super-fast services were achieved by the majority of their customers.