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Virgin Media Usain Bolt Sir Richard Branson

Virgin Media to launch marketing campaign with DDB featuring Usain Bolt


By The Drum Team, Editorial

January 13, 2012 | 3 min read

Virgin Media is to launch an ad tomorrow as part of a new marketing campaign featuring Usain Bolt and Sir Richard Branson to introduce new brand-line ‘Keep Up’.

The TV ad, created by DDB with media planning by Fifty6, features athlete Bolt sitting in Branson’s office and trying to persuade the public that he is Branson. Despite wearing a Branson-esque blonde goatee beard, his efforts are interrupted when the real Branson appears and demands Bolt leaves.

The TV ads end with Bolt pulling his famous ‘To Di World’ lightning pose and waggling his finger at the web address

The theme will continue across all media, including TV, press, outdoor, social, retail and online, with a new campaign site to promote the benefits of the UK’s fastest broadband and to remind current and prospective Virgin Media customers of the company’s supremacy in the broadband market.

Jeff Dodds, executive director of brand and marketing communications at Virgin Media, said: “We’ve got a long history of giving our customers more and we wanted to let them know about the exciting boost they’ll soon get from us. Our competitors’ customers might also feel a twinge of envy when they hear about this as what better spokesperson for our superfast broadband than Usain Bolt? He’s the living embodiment of speed! It’s a brilliantly simple idea but the trick was to avoid the obvious sportsman endorsement clichés. This is where DDB UK has done us proud by taking a refreshing, and typically Virgin self-deprecating and cheeky approach to the brief.”

The campaign has already started with Bolt pretending to be Branson on Twitter during the week, using the hashtag #IamRBranson.

The ads are directed by Seth Gordon, most recently known for hit comedy movie Horrible Bosses, and will launch on TV during ITV’s Take Me Out, with five second ‘Bolt-on’ teasers to be run tonight on Facebook and on TV.

Xavier Rees, managing partner at DDB UK added: “This was an exciting campaign to work on as it’s not often a brand gives something so significant back to its customers. It’s also not often that you get to do something original with two icons of this magnitude. Keep Up is a fantastic campaign idea and plays strongly to consumers’ desire to avoid missing out on the latest innovations so all the ingredients are in place for a highly effective campaign with massive cut-through.”

Virgin Media Usain Bolt Sir Richard Branson

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