Bolt given the run-around by ‘Broadbandits’ in new Virgin Media ad

30th January 2015

  • Multi-million pound ad campaign champions UK’s best widely available broadband for streaming
  • Animal archetypes celebrates the ways people use Virgin Media’s entertainment services

Usain Bolt finds himself sharing his superfast broadband connection with some unlikely housemates and a trio of cute but cunning gadget rascals in Virgin Media's latest ad campaign. First airing on primetime ITV during Mr Selfridge on Sunday, 1st February, the ads celebrate the power of Virgin Media’s superior fibre optic network, which provides the UK’s best widely available broadband for streaming1.

Usain is joined by various animal archetypes which exhibit the different ways people consume entertainment and stay connected using Virgin Media’s broadband services. The ad campaign sees the return of Ed the Sofa Bear and Ally the Night Owl and the introduction of new characters – Chloe the Chatterparrot and three cheeky racoons known as the Broadbandits. Each character makes the most of Virgin Media’s powerful network as they all go online at the same time to do the things they enjoy.

In the first ad, called ‘Broadbandits’, Usain is streaming the latest Netflix release on a tablet while surrounded by three young racoons. His screen is deftly swiped by a racoon who wants to watch Rio 2, then the other racoons pinch his phone and laptop. A voiceover explains broadband from Virgin Media stays superfast, even when everyone in the home is connected. Usain grabs the TiVo® remote to the dismay of the racoons who turn to look at him. He says “Don’t even think about it!” before sitting back to stream Netflix on TV.

In the second ad, called ‘Full House’, Usain heads to his living room to play a game online. He finds the sofa is already occupied by Ed the Sofa Bear, watching TV. Meanwhile Ally the Night Owl, who is streaming a box set on her tablet, and Chloe the Chatterparrot, busily Skyping a friend, are in the other rooms. When Usain finally finds a quiet spot in the loft he starts to play a game on his tablet, but is interrupted by a disapproving Ally, who makes him turn the volume down.               

Richard Larcombe, Director of Brand and Marketing at Virgin Media, said: “As Usain finds out in our latest campaign, customers are using more connected devices around the home than ever before. As our superfast broadband is powered by the UK’s best widely available network for streaming, it enables customers to enjoy the things they love online seamlessly – even when lots of devices are being used at the same time. So the only thing they need to worry about is whether their own Broadbandits have run off with their gadgets.”

Virgin Media customers can enjoy broadband speeds of up to 152Mb, twice as fast as any other major provider, with Virgin Media’s ‘Big Kahuna’ bundle2 from £39 a month for 12 months. This bundle also includes the highly acclaimed TiVo with over 230 TV channels with over 40 in HD, including BT Sport, more channels on the go than any other provider, as well as a home phone, and service and repairs included at no extra cost. All Virgin Media TiVo customers can also access Virgin TV Anywhere for free from their iOS or Android device allowing them to stream 103 channels live over WiFi.

Virgin Media’s Big Bundles have transformed the way in which home communications and entertainment services can be bought. The bundles offer unprecedented flexibility and value to consumers all under-pinned by Virgin Media’s market leading fibre optic network. Details of the full range of Virgin Media Big Bundles can be found here:

The ad campaign was created by BBH, with media planning handled by Fifty6, and will also run in cinema, display, online search, social media Video on Demand, print and out of home.

Notes to editors

1 The high quality video streaming Virgin Media customers enjoy is made possible by our network’s ability to support the highest streaming rates with the lowest packet loss and latency. This ability has been proven in independent testing by Ofcom, details of which can be found on Ofcom’s website. More information is also available here.

2 Virgin Media’s Big Kahuna bundle is currently available on an 18 month contract from £39 for the first 12 months, then from £49 thereafter, now with Netflix included for six months.

The creative leads for the campaign are as follows:

Director: James Rouse
Creative director: Tom Drew and Uche Ezugwu, BBH
Copywriter: Doug Fridlund, BBH
Art director: Mikael Alcock, BBH
Production company: Outsider

About Virgin Media

Virgin Media offers four multi award-winning services across the UK and Ireland: broadband, TV, mobile phone and landline.

The company’s dedicated, ultrafast network delivers the fastest widely available broadband speeds to homes and businesses. And we’re expanding this through our £3bn Project Lightning programme, which will reach 17 million premises.

Our interactive TV service brings live programmes, thousands of hours of on-demand programming and the best apps and games in a set-top box, as well as on-the-go for tablets and smartphones.

We launched the world’s first virtual mobile network, offering fantastic value and services to customers. We are also one of the largest fixed-line home phone providers in the UK and Ireland.

Through Virgin Media Business we support entrepreneurs, businesses and the public sector, delivering the fastest widely available broadband speeds and tailor-made services.

Virgin Media is part of Liberty Global, the world’s largest international cable company. Together Virgin Media and Liberty Global serve 27 million customers across 14 countries.

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