Virgin Media pulls ads attacking rival Sky service

Virgin Media is abandoning the tit-for-tat marketing strategy that has seen it invest more than £32m in a bitter public battle with BSkyB.

The company is ditching ads attacking the rival pay-TV, fixed-line telecoms and high-speed internet offering from Sky to focus instead on its own quad-play service.

Virgin Media plans to embark on a fresh marketing strategy for 2008 that will promote its high-speed broadband and video-on-demand services as part of its 'hero' range of products.

'We're no longer going to get caught up in a slug-fest with Sky,' said James Kydd, managing director of marketing at Virgin Media. 'There's no point in spending any more time or money whacking the crap out of each other.'

The change of strategy follows an acrimonious dispute that saw Sky withdraw its key channels from the Virgin Media pay-TV platform just months after the latter's high-profile launch in February.

Virgin Media accused Sky of abusing its dominant market position and took the case to court; the case continues. Industry insiders claim that the public battle has confused consumers and damaged the fledgling Virgin Media brand in the process.

Virgin Media's advertising account is split between RKCR/Y&R and Rapier.

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