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Appointment to view: Virgin Media braves the live TV ad challenge

Virgin Media broadcasted its live ads without a hitch on Friday, giving away last minute tickets for its V Festival. Several brands have experimented with the live ad format over the years, here's a look back at some of the most memorable.

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One of the most fondly remembered live ads was Carling’s 2010 Fifa World Cup spot, which reflected the final score of the England game in the creative immediately after the game.

The BBC aired a live ad in 2009 to promote its science show Bang Goes The Theory. The ad, created by Red Bee Media, went out to 13 million BBC1 viewers between The One Show and EastEnders. It was shot in an aircraft hangar in Essex, with presenter Liz Bonnin pedaling a bicycle to power a Van De Graaf generator.

Channel 4 staged an ambitious live television advert during an episode of reality show ‘Come Dine With Me’ in May 2008. A team of skydivers had just three minutes and 20 seconds to spell out the brand name Honda in a series of formations over Madrid. The stunt was successful, but the brand admitted there was a taped back-up in case anything went wrong.

Also in 2008 British Airways launched its first advertising campaign for Terminal 5. The campaign streamed live travel information, such as baggage arrival times, under the tag line "Terminal 5 is working". It was created by agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

Nintendo re-defined ‘live’ in May 2007 with a cinema ad that involved two actors inside the cinema theatre. The first played a teenager sitting at the front of the cinema. He was then confronted by his mother who challenged him to a face off by playing computer tennis on a Nintendo Wii games console linked to the big screen. The ads were staged during Picturehouse cinema screenings in Clapham, Greenwich and Brixton.

Ebay also tried out the ‘live’ information format. Back in September 2007 the brand ran a series of ads on ITV1. The ads targeted audiences relevant to women's fashion during Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, men's fashion during the Rugby World Cup and entertainment alongside The X Factor. Pricing and bidding information was streamed with only a two-second delay.

Across the globe, Norwegian news and entertainment site SOL, launched real-time online ads that saw copywriters reacting to information on websites to produce unique, handwritten content. The ‘Sol Comments’ campaign was created by Mediafront Oslo in 2007.

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