Since NTL and Virgin Mobile joined forces to rebrand as Virgin Media on 14 February, the business has been conducting a media blitz.
Ads have been plastered across public transport, billboards and newspapers, headlined by a television campaign fronted by Hollywood starlet Uma Thurman (or in the case of one of the ads, promoting its unmetered broadband service, several Uma Thurmans).
But it hasn't all been one-way traffic. Even as it was proclaiming its offerings, Virgin Media faced a negative advertising onslaught from Sky, which has attempted to strangle its rebranded competitor at birth.
While Virgin's ads have concentrated on Thurman selling the various parts of its new package - the speed of the broadband connection, television-on-demand and international phone calls at the same rate as domestic calls - Sky has gone in for the kill and garnered a clutch of headlines in the process.
After a row over the fees Virgin pays to broadcast Sky's "basic" channels, Sky stopped broadcasting Sky One to Virgin customers and has started running ads advising Virgin customers that they can catch up with the programmes they are now missing by switching to Sky.
On BrandIndex, Virgin's figures were initially on the up, but its rising buzz rating slumped after the row with Sky broke out, down to -14 from a peak of +21. Since then, all of Virgin Media's ratings have been in decline. From a peak of +11, its quality is down to -3, its recommend score fell from +6 to +2, its value score from +7 to -2 and its corporate reputation from +24 to +10.
So, despite its heavy advertising, Virgin Media seems to be struggling in the first battle of what's likely to be a long war. PR expert Richard Branson must be wondering whether the old adage that "no publicity is bad publicity" is always true after all.
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