Adwatch (Feb 29) top 20 recall: Virgin Media
Perfectly cast and full of speed cues, this 'faster broadband' campaign really hits the mark
Usain Bolt is fast. He is also pretty cool. And judging by his performance in Virgin Media's ad, he can act a bit, too. When you see him you don't just think 'fast', you think 'fastest'. Good job, too, as Virgin wants you to know that it's making its already super-fast broadband even faster - doubling the speed, no less.
Richard Branson, never shy of getting in front of the camera, features too, of course, and does a decent turn.
The premise of the ad is that the Boltmeister, disguised as the bearded Virgin chief with an eye-catching goatee, has commandeered his office to make the speed-doubling announcement. There's a great juxtaposition as he talks broadband speed in his laid-back Jamaican accent while lounging in the office, golden spikes on desk, strumming a guitar and locking out a surprised Branson.
There are speed cues everywhere. Clearly Virgin Galactic is something Branson is excited about and wants to promote. He can kill two birds with one stone in this ad and get away with it, without looking forced. The most obvious prop is the golden space helmet that Bolt puts on for his final, signature arrow pose, but I like the very subtle framing just before where the overhead lights look like the thruster jets from a rocket.
The spot feels true to the Virgin brand. It is playful, confident, cheeky and not afraid to send itself up.
Of course, the wider context for all this is that, assuming a level of reliability, the hearts and minds of broadband users will be won on speed. BT has invested more than £2bn in super-fast fibre-optic technology but, ironically, hasn't been fast enough to roll it out. Until it does, it can't 'own' speed.
This is Virgin's window of opportunity and it is making the most of it, the new endline - 'Keep up' - further rubbing salt into BT's wounds. It's a brilliant line, not just for its subtle short arm jab to its rival's belly, but also because it actually starts to make you wonder whether not having Virgin Media broadband means that you are living in the Dark Ages. It also feels as though 'Keep up' would make a great internal rallying call for Virgin Media's employees as they continue to try to stay one step ahead of the competition.
This ad is clear, engaging, survives repeat viewing and, with the London Olympics around the corner, the use of Bolt is both relevant and timely.
BRAND STRATEGY VERDICT
The use of Bolt, and Virgin Galactic props everywhere, makes it almost impossible not to give this maximum marks. The ad delivers on the brand strategy - to communicate the speed superiority of Virgin Media's broadband offering - on almost every level.
10 out of 10
|Adwatch (Feb 29): Top 20 recall TV ads
|1||(–)||Virgin Media||DDB UK/Fifty6||72|
|5||(–)||Tesco||The Red Brick Road/
|6=||(–)||L'Oreal – False
|6=||(–)||Vision Express||Dare/Walker Media||33|
|9||(3=)||Asda||Saatchi & Saatchi/Carat||32|
|10||(–)||Galaxy||Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/
|11||(-)||Alpen Porridge||Bartle Bogle Hegarty/
|12=||(-)||Kia Optima||David & Goliath/MPG||25|
|14||(-)||Tropicana||Juniper Park/OMD UK||24|
|15||(-)||Apple iPad 2||TBWA Media Arts Lab/
|19=||Fisherman's Friend||FKC London/Manning
|Webwatch (Feb 29): Top 20 recall online ads|
|Feb-29||Brand||Agency/ TV Buyer||Recall|
|8||(–)||Virgin Media||DDB UK/Fifty6||20|
|11=||(-)||Pantene Pro-V||Kitcatt Nohr
|15=||(-)||Green Flag||CHI &
This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk
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