Beeb ad puts commercial radio chiefs in a spin

Commercial radio companies have been put in a spin by the BBC's lavish promotional trailer for its radio stations starring Elton John, David Bowie and a collection of stars singing the Lou Reed classic "Perfect Day". Representatives of commercial stations such as Virgin and Capital complain that the trailer amounts to unfair competition because it is no more than an extended advertisement running on the BBC.

Paul Brown, chief executive of the Commercial Radio Companies Association, said yesterday that he would raise the BBC trailer with the Department of Culture Media and Sport. "It is clearly an advertising campaign," he said, pointing out that there are plans to run the trailer in cinemas later in the autumn and that it was created with the BBC's advertising agency Leagas Delaney. A BBC spokesman rejected the radio companies' complaints, saying the trailer is just an example of good marketing. It is intended to maintain support for the licence fee and follows a series of such trailers recorded by EastEnders stars and Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer.

The four-minute advertisement stars 26 singers each singing a line from the 25-year-old song that was last heard on the soundtrack of Trainspotting. Singers like Bono of U2, Brett Anderson from Suede, Ian Broudie of the Lightning Seeds and Tammy Wynette contributed a line each of the song for just pounds 250. Lou Reed contributed the first and last lines and has praised the song: "I have never been more impressed with a performance of one of my songs," he said.