Spice Girl Mel B to star in animated Virgin Media ad

LONDON - Former Spice Girl Mel B is the latest celebrity to be turned into a computer-generated animated character in a cinema ad for Virgin Media launching next week.

The singer will star alongside a CGI version of Sir Richard Branson, who is disguised as a German plastic surgeon, to promote the group's on-demand movies service on cable television.

The innuendo-filled 60-second ad, which breaks next Friday, was written by Chris Hopkins and Pip Bishop at Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe Y&R, the team behind the M&S advertising.

It sees Mel B's animated character, dressed in her trademark leopard print catsuit, paying a visit to the plastic surgeon, because she wants to make "a big impression in Hollywood".

But instead of going under the knife, the surgeon recommends she buy the Movies On Demand service from Virgin Media in order to "stand out from zee udders".

As Mel B leaves the clinic, the surgeon rips off his mark to reveal he is the Virgin Group chairman and founder Sir Richard Branson.

The animations were created by American design studio So! Animation using what Virgin Media has described as the latest state-of-the-art techniques.

Mel B, who was recently signed as the new face of Ultimo lingerie, is the second celebrity to star in the animated ads, following singer Mick Hucknall's appearance in June.

Virgin Media's acting managing director of brand and marketing, Ashley Stockwell, said the company was thrilled to have secured the "fun-loving, larger-than-life" pop star to front the campaign.

"After all these years in the limelight, Mel is still a favourite with the British public and was the perfect choice for the ad, as she was happy to have a real laugh with us," he said.

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