Virgin Media's Usain Bolt Ad Demonstrates What 9.58 Seconds Feels Like

Spot Consists of Sequences That Match the Length of His World Record

By Alexandra Jardine. Published on Jul 06, 2016

Editor's Pick

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."

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Jul 06, 2016
BBH London
Virgin Media
Seb Edwards
Production Company:
Academy Films
Chief Marketing Officer:
Kerris Bright
Head of Advertising:
Ellie Tory
Head of Sponsoring:
Ellie Tory
Nick Gill
Davud Karbassioun
Executive Creative Director:
Nick Gill
Alana King
Director, Strategy:
Elle Graham-Dixon
Business Lead:
Zoe Verrion
Account Manager:
Graham Moffat
Account Director:
Andrew Connolly
Chief Production Officer:
Davud Karbassioun
Creative Team:
Nick Gill
Creative Team:
Davud Karbassioun
Alen Grebovic
Victoria Keenan
Producer Assistant:
Sarah Finnigan Walsh
Executive Producer:
Dominic Thomas
Executive Producer:
Davud Karbassioun
Director, Photography:
Alwin Kuchler
Post Production:
Electric Theatre Collective
Post Production Producer:
Libby Behrens
2D Lead:
Giles Cheetham
Aubrey Woodiwiss
The Line
Animation Director:
Wesley Louis
Sequence Director:
Wesley Louis
Tom Lindsay
Editing Company:
Trim Editing
Sound Design:
Anthony Moore
Sound Designer:
Arch Birds
Michael Johnson
Print Producer:
Lauren Daniels
Print Producer:
Simon Taylor
Digital Producer:
Charlie Hurlock
Digital Producer:
Chris Robertson
Creative Director:
Chris Lawson
Creative Team:
Andrew Stone
Creative Team:
Adrian Thomas
Account Director:
Valdemar Domingos
Charlie Hurlock
Sarah Finnigan Walsh

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