Wednesday, 8 July 2009


Branson winds up the Aussies with the ultimate sledge

Virgin Media tycoon beams himself onto Sydney Harbour Bridge

Richard Branson has thrown down the gauntlet to the Australian nation by beaming a tongue-in-cheek image of himself onto one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, to mark the start of the Ashes series.

The image, referencing Australia captain Ricky Ponting and featuring Branson’s face painted with a St George’s Cross, was unveiled in the shadow on the famous Sydney Opera House with the slogan “Good luck Ricky. You’ll need it. Dicky x” to promote Virgin Media’s ‘Fifty50’ campaign, designed to spur England on as they fight to win The Ashes this summer. The company has pledged to donate £1,000 to charity for every England batsman who scores a half century during the series to celebrate the national roll-out of the broadband provider’s ultrafast 50Mb broadband service.

Richard Branson said: “I love Australia and I know that the Aussies are always up for a spot of light-hearted banter, especially when it comes to The Ashes. Every Australian I know wants to stuff us in the upcoming series and I wanted to do my bit to encourage the England team in the hope that they can win the Ashes this time round.”

Laurinda Rio-Copeland, who lives in Sydney but is originally from London, was passing by as the image was beamed onto the bridge. She said: “I have had so many Aussies rib me about England’s defeat in the last series, telling me how we are going to get beaten again. I think this image is really funny and it’s nice to see the Aussies being on the receiving end for a change.”

The unique ‘Fifty50’ scheme will run throughout The Ashes and will see Virgin Media donate to a selection of good causes favoured by the England players. Launched by former England skipper and Yorkshire player Michael Vaughan, the charity donations will go to each English batman’s chosen charity, every time he scores 50 runs or more in a single innings, throughout the series.

To find out more about Virgin Media’s 50Mb service, visit

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