"I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

Usain Bolt takes on ‘Blot’ in new Virgin Media ad campaign

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Virgin Media’s new multi-million pound advertising campaign is quick out of the blocks with the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt and Sir Richard Branson bringing the benefits of superfast broadband to life. The ads kick off on primetime ITV and Channel 4 on Monday, 1st July.

The campaign invites Brits to put their broadband to the test and sees Bolt, representing Virgin Media’s superfast fibre optic broadband, go head-to-head with Blot, a slow and inefficient challenger representing regular broadband powered by DSL technology. The ads show how Virgin Media quickly leaves other broadband providers in the dust.

A call to ‘Challenge Your Broadband’ runs through the integrated campaign, pointing people to www.virginmedia.com/challenge to see how their existing broadband shapes up against Virgin Media’s superfast service and to explore the perfect speeds for their online needs.

The first 30 second ad sees Bolt and Blot on the track with a movie reel in-hand and ready to race to the finish line, where viewers eagerly wait for their film to download. A blazer-clad Richard Branson fires the starting pistol and Bolt flies to the finish line and the waiting sofa filled with film fans. Meanwhile, a slow, out-of-breath Blot trails behind.

Another 30 second TV ad showcases the stellar performance of Virgin Media’s broadband, demonstrating how it’s a real champion for households with lots of connected devices. Bolt and Blot limber up and powerlift a bar weighted with people online with laptops, tablets and smartphones. Bolt manages the task easily, getting a thumbs up from Richard before kicking back and ‘relaxin’’. But Blot struggles and we cut to Richard having to keep himself entertained with his favourite train set. The ad ends with a defeated Blot shuffling past a very happy Bolt. Acclaimed actor, writer and director Richard Ayodade, of IT Crowd fame, provides the voiceover to the TV ads.

Richard Larcombe, director of advertising and sponsorship at Virgin Media, said: “Our new ads champion Virgin Media’s outstanding broadband services with superfast legend Usain Bolt in the starring role. We believe everyone should get the superfast speeds they expect – like our customers do1 – so you can stream TV, download music, browse online and game to your heart’s content. This campaign takes a humorous look at the strength of Virgin Media’s fibre optic service but goes a step further by inviting people to put their own broadband to the test and see the benefits of Virgin Media broadband for themselves.”

The integrated campaign spans TV, print and online and drives viewers to the ‘Challenge Your Broadband’ microsite at www.virginmedia.com/challenge, where visitors can try various challenges like testing their current broadband speed against Virgin Media’s superfast broadband.

As part of the campaign, online ads dramatise the frustrating experience of slow broadband. In one masthead advert on YouTube, viewers will see a YouTube video in the centre with Bolt and Blot on treadmills either side. When viewers hover over Bolt, the clip will play perfectly, but if they hover over Blot the footage will slow down and jar, demonstrating one of the many ways in which superfast broadband delivers better everyday experiences online.

The campaign was created by BBH with media planning handled by Fifty6.