Usain Bolt returns in new Virgin Media ad

Virgin Media is to launch a new ad starring Olympic gold medalist sprinter Usain Bolt today (1 July) in a bid to demonstrate how much faster the telecom giant's broadband is than other providers.

In the campaign, created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Virgin Media pits Bolt against a slow an inefficient challenger called Blot, representing Virgin Media’s fibre-optic broadband network and other providers’ DSL-based services respectively.

One TV ad will show Bolt and Blot racing with a movie reel in their hands to represent viewers waiting for a film to download. After Virgin Group founder Richard Branson starts the race with a gun, Bolt gets to the finish line long before Blot.

Branson also stars in the second ad, which shows Bolt and Blot powerlifting a bar that represents people using the internet on their laptops, tablets and smartphones. Once again Bolt wins, Branson gives him a thumbs up and the sprinter relaxes.

Richard Ayodade, the star of ‘The IT Crowd’ and writer and director of ‘Submarine’ provides the voiceover for the TV ads.

The integrated campaign will encourage people to visit to find out how their provider compares to Virgin Media.

Richard Larcombe, the 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 do – 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."

Media planning and buying was by Fifty6, the joint venture between Manning Gottlieb OMD and Goodstuff.