By Barry Janoff
July 6, 2016: The fastest man in the world wants to make your telecom experience faster. And to also make the U.K. faster, post Brexit.
Usain Bolt, who set a world record by running a 100-meter race in 9.58 seconds on Aug. 16, 2009 in Berlin in the final of the World Athletics Championship, has teamed with Virgin Media for "Be the Fastest."
The multi-platform campaign is anchored by a TV spot that runs 100 seconds and is divided into various segments of 9.58 seconds each.
The commercial, with voiceover from fellow track & field icon Michael Johnson, shows how Bolt made his way from childhood in Jamaica to the top of the running and Olympic world. The campaign comes as Bolt is preparing to compete in the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, seeking to add to his six Olympic gold medals — three each at Beijing (2008) and London (2012).
"Usain Bolt broke the 100 meter world record in 9.58 seconds, Do you know what 9.58 seconds feels like?" asks Johnson as we see Bolt running, training, playing, dancing, being evaluated by a computer and even as an emoji "It feels like this: Like the boy who grew up and never lost his killer instinct. Like that healthy Jamaican home cooking. It feels beautiful. Like pure joy."
The spot ends with the campaign's tag line, “Are you ready to be moved?” (See the full spot here.)
“Broadband speeds are the beating heart of the Virgin Media brand," Kerris Bright, CMO for Virgin Media, said in a statement. "Speed unlocks the difference that Virgin Media provides, encouraging our customers to do more, be more and have more fun.
"Our new campaign, the latest in our long-running partnership with Usain, celebrates a scorching summer of sport where he is going to play a huge part and brings to life what it feels like to ‘Be the Fastest,'" said Bright.
Support for the effort includes Internet, outdoor, in-cinema and social media. Lead agency is BBH London.
Virgin Media unveiled the ad earlier this week by transforming 100 meters of London's River Thames into a video screen and playing the commercial on it, with Bolt in attendance.
Bolt also has alliances that include Puma, Gatorade, Hublot, ANA Airlines, Nissan, as well as the Usain Bolt Foundation. He earns about $30 million in endorsements, according to industry analysts.
According to Virgin Media, the commercial "attempts to lift the lid on the real Bolt. It shows the ‘overwhelming rush of hurt’ he describes when talking about his training schedule, the impact his achievement had on adoring fans, the healthy Jamaican diet he grew up on, the gaming arcades he spent his childhood in and the Jamaican dance culture he is still a part of.
"By the end of the ad, we've shown what it feels like to be the fastest, not just for Bolt, but how that can be achieved through our VIVID 200Mbps fibre optic broadband. Our customers experience some of the fastest broadband speeds, giving them a superior entertainment experience, whether it be with movies, music or gaming," per Virgin Media.
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