Virgin Media Launches #BeTheFastest with Usain Bolt

The Virgin Media push is led by a spot which premiered recently during the Portugal versus Wales Euro 2016 semi-final match on ITV1.

Virgin Media has rolled out a multi-million-pound branding campaign featuring Usain Bolt. Titled #BeTheFastest, the push is spearheaded by a new television commercial that premiered recently during the Portugal versus Wales Euro 2016 semi-final match on ITV1.

The 100-second spot the concept of speed—which is what unlocks the difference the brand provides and defines the pro athlete. Meanwhile, the advertisement short is voiced-over by sprinter, Michael Johnson, who himself created a documentary with the sportsman in 2010.

The film lifts the lid on the real him, capturing the ‘overwhelming rush of hurt’ Bolt describes when discussing his gruelling training schedule, the impact his achievements, his perceived ‘superhero’ status, and the Jamaican dancehall culture of which he is still a part.

Offering a real-time dramatisation of his historic record-breaking 9.58-second run—mimicking the distance and speed at which he ran it, across multiple Jamaican locations in which he grew up as a boy. The film ends with the campaign line: Are you ready to be moved?

The effort was developed by BBH, with media planning handled by Manning Gottlieb OMD. Scheduled to also run across cinema, VOD, outdoor, press, display, mobile, social and search, the film was directed by Seb Edwards and follows a very precise 9.58-second format.

The overall initiative was supported by an ambitious installation which took the Jamaican sprint legend to the River Thames on 5 July 2016. The date is significant because it marks the one-month lead-up to his touching down in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to defend his world record title.

Paying homage to said record, the river in front of the Coca-Cola London Eye was transformed into a 100-metre video screen at 9.58 pm on the aforementioned date. Meanwhile, the London Eye itself became a giant stopwatch counting down Bolt’s time, turning into a welcome spectacle.

“Broadband speeds are the beating heart of the Virgin Media brand. Our new campaign, the latest in our long-running partnership with Usain, celebrates a scorching summer of sport where he is going to bring to life what it feels like to be the fastest,” said Kerris Bright, CMO at Virgin Media.