Virgin Media’s tribute to Usain Bolt shows what 9.58 seconds feels like

Ahead of next month’s Olympics in Rio, Virgin Media has rolled out a video starring Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt that aims to show viewers what 9.58 seconds feels like, the amount of time it took Bolt to break the 100m world record in 2009.

Created by BBH London, the video features a number of segments that each last 9.58 seconds, all of which showcase different aspects of Bolt’s life - such as his intense training schedule, adoring fans, his “superhero” status as the fastest man in the world, and childhood in Jamaica. According to Virgin Media, “speed unlocks the difference that Virgin Media provides, and for Bolt, speed defines him.”

Called ‘Be The Fastest,’ the short film was directed by Seb Edwards and is narrated by retired American Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson, who made a documentary with Bolt in 2010.

The ad comes as part of a longstanding relationship Bolt has had with the Virgin Media brand, first appearing in an ad in 2012 alongside fellow Olympian Mo Farah, helping the broadband provider nudge up to £1bn in revenue in the same year.

The TV ad kicks off a wider multimillion-pound ad campaign ‘Be The Fastest’ to promote the speed of Virgin Media’s broadband speed rather than pushing a specific package. 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 ad campaign was supported by an installation on the River Thames yesterday (5 July) - exactly one month until he arrives in Rio de Janiero - that recreated Bolt’s 9.58 second world record with a digital six lane running track built as a single LED screen, with the London Eye transforming into a giant stopwatch.

The campaign includes cinema, video on demand, outdoor, display, mobile, social and search elements. Audiences are invited to join in the campaign using the hashtag #BeTheFastest on Twitter, which triggers a bespoke Usain Bolt emoji.

Additional reporting by Jessica Goodfellow

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