Virgin Trains Receives Final Warning Over Ad Transgressions

31 May 2001

Virgin Trains, the rail franchise fronted by Sir Richard Branson, has had its knuckles rapped by Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority for the fourth time in as many months. Unless Sir Richard’s marketers mend their ways, threatens the regulator, the matter will be referred to ‘Big Brother’, the Office of Fair Trading.

Virgin’s latest transgression concerns the advertising of half-price rail tickets – a promotion aimed at rebuilding traffic in the wake of the recent Hatfield train disaster. The promo, heavily advertised as “the world’s biggest rail offer”, referred to certain exclusions only in the smallest of small print and many travellers learned on applying that they failed to qualify.

Continuation of such “unclear” advertising would not be tolerated, warned the ASA. Virgin is contrition personified and has undertaken to submit its copy in advance to the ASA in future, adding that it takes the ASA’s ruling “very seriously”.

News source: CampaignLive (UK)