It’s a battle involving some of Britain’s most famous institutions. In one corner there’s the Beeb, the good ‘ole British Broadcasting Corporation or BBC, and in the other is Virgin, business baby of billionaire Richard Branson and in this case Virgin Media in particular, the uh, media arm of the company. In the middle, David Tennant most famously known as the 10th Doctor on the wildly popular, Doctor Who.
So, what’s happening? This Virgin Media commercial, below, advertising such services as TiVo and starring David Tennant along with Richard Branson has received a takedown request from the BBC on the grounds its time travel premise is playing off of Tennant’s popularity from Doctor Who.
Okay, so let’s watch it.
The BBC is convinced this commercial is an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of Doctor Who and they’re really not cool with that, releasing this statement,
We should ensure that the BBC brand is not used to endorse outside companies or organisations. We can achieve this by ensuring commercial advertising, promotion and press releases by outside companies do not give the impression of BBC endorsement, and advertising does not ‘pass off’ BBC programmes.
The Beeb has always been very protective of all its properties, and in recent years Doctor Who in particular, but this commercial? I think they’ve gone to far. Besides the inclusion of the Doctor Who logo, not even Tennant’s Doctor Who logo mind you, in the menu I can’t really see a case. All Virgin is doing is using the popularity of a celebrity to hock their product, isn’t that the point of a spokesman? It’s as if the BBC is pissed because David Tennant’s stardom exploded from Doctor Who.
Virgin isn’t backing down. They released a statement saying the ad is about Branson’s “love of exploration,” not Who.
What do you guys think? Does BBC have a case? Are Virgin right to keep the commercial? Is David Tennant still as sexy today as he ever was as Ten?