When Usain Bolt broke the 100m world record, he did it in 9.58 seconds. In this clever ad for Virgin Media, BBH London tries to demonstrate to the viewer what 9.58 seconds feels like, using a series of 10 sequences that are exactly that length.
The film combines footage shot in Jamaica by the director, Academy's Seb Edwards, with stock footage of Bolt and his fans, and some original animation and graphics. It's narrated by world 400m record holder Michael Johnson, who has been a mentor to Bolt.
One of the 10 sequences is a real-time dramatization of the historic 9.58-second record-breaking run, mimicking the distance and speed Bolt ran it at, across Jamaican locations he grew up at as a boy. Among the other nine sequences, there's one that turns 9.58 seconds into a video-game-like scenario, and an animated version in which he's a superhero. The film ends with the campaign line, "Are you ready to be moved?"
The spot launches on U.K. TV today, ahead of Bolt's intention to compete at the Rio Olympics, and will run throughout the summer. Virgin has used Bolt for the past four years in its advertising, promoting the speed of its broadband. Kerris Bright, chief marketing officer at Virgin Media, commented in a statement: "This campaign is about the power and emotion of speed, creating an emotive story around Bolt and our brand. All at a time he is hoping to make history, but in a way that connected to our core attribution of speed."