Virgin Media launches campaign to promote Sky Sports HD

Virgin Media has joined in the advertising battle between rivals BSkyB and BT Vision with its own campaign to support the addition of Sky Sport HD 1 and Sky Sports HD 2 to its line up from 2 August.

Virgin Media: supports Sky Sports
Virgin Media: supports Sky Sports

The ads, created by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, focus on the fan rather than famous footballers and use animated characters cheering on their favourite team to highlight Virgin Media's offerings.

The campaign, planned and bought by Manning Gottlieb OMD, includes print ads in national newspapers and UTV's Sport magazine as well as online activity on football sites, news outlets and social media.

Virgin Media ads will be broadcast on Absolute Radio and UTV's national commercial station TalkSport, both of which have Premier League broadcasting rights, as well as run on pub, bar and stadium media.

Virgin Media currently offers 14 high definition channels, including E4 HD, Film4 HD and National Geographic HD but a spokesman said Virgin will soon offer 30 high definition TV channels following the £160m Virgin Media Television deal with BSkyB.

Last week Sky launched a cross-platform marketing campaign for Sky Sports, starring Manchester United legend Eric Cantona, to remind sports fans it is the only platform which offers all five Sky Sports channels, in high definition.

On 1 July BT launched an ad starring football players Michael Owen, Wes Brown and Gareth Bale as part of a £30m marketing push set aside to promote BT's new sports content.

BT and Virgin Media are able to offer Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 after broadcasting regulator Ofcom ruled that BSkyB must cut the price it charges competitors for the channels in March.

All parties are currently appealing the decision.