Usain Bolt challenges the UK to ‘Be The Fastest’ in new Virgin Media campaign

6th July 2016

Today, Virgin Media challenged the nation to ‘Be The Fastest’ with the unveiling of a new multi-million pound brand campaign featuring Usain Bolt. 

The campaign, called ‘Be The Fastest’, is spearheaded by a new TV ad, which will air during the Portugal vs Wales Euro 2016 semi-final match on ITV1 at around 9pm this evening (Wednesday 6 July).

The 100-second ad centres on the concept of speed and the fastest man of all time, Usain Bolt, ahead of a pivotal season in Bolt’s career.  Speed unlocks the difference that Virgin Media provides, and for Bolt, speed defines him. The ad is voiced over by fellow sprinter, Michael Johnson, who made a documentary with Usain Bolt in 2010.

The film lifts the lid on the real Bolt. It shows the ‘overwhelming rush of hurt’ he describes when talking about his gruelling training schedule, the impact his achievements have had on his country and adoring fans, his perceived “superhero” status, and the Jamaican dancehall culture he is still a part of. The film even provides a real-time dramatisation of the historic 9.58 second record breaking run, mimicking the distance and speed he ran it at, across Jamaican locations he grew up at as a boy. The film ends with the campaign line, “Are you ready to be moved?”.

Kerris Bright, CMO at Virgin Media said: “Broadband speeds are the beating heart of the Virgin Media brand. 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’. ”

The new marketing campaign was created by BBH, with media planning handled by Manning Gottlieb OMD, and will also run in cinema, VOD, outdoor, press, display, mobile, social and search.  The film was directed by Seb Edwards and follows a set of sequences that work to the strict 9.58 second format. 

The ad campaign was supported by an ambitious installation bringing Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt to the River Thames on Tuesday 5th July, marking exactly one month until he arrives in Rio de Janeiro to defend his world record title. In a celebration of Bolt’s 9.58 second 100m world record, at 9.58pm the river in front of the Coca-Cola London Eye* was transformed into a 100m-long video screen, while the London Eye itself became a giant stopwatch counting down Bolt’s time. Viewers within the Eye were able to witness Bolt’s record-breaking speed, thanks to a 100m-long, floating screen stationed on the river beneath. 

The new ad can be viewed here.

Join in the conversation with #BeTheFastest on Twitter, and see an extra special Usain Bolt emoji.

Notes to editors

*The Coca-Cola London Eye is operated by the London Eye Company Limited, a Merlin Entertainments Group Company.

Virgin Media’s Vivid 200 broadband offers the fastest widely available broadband – with download speeds of up to 200Mbps. This is more than two and a half times faster than the top widely available speeds from BT, TalkTalk and Sky meaning that a whole household can stream movies, music and more all at the same time.

About Virgin Media

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. We’re expanding this through our £3bn Project Lightning programme, which will reach 17 million premises by the end of 2019.

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. 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 speeds and tailor-made services.

Virgin Media is part of Liberty Global, the world’s largest international cable company, with operations in more than 30 countries.