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Usain Bolt mimics Richard Branson in Virgin Media superfast broadband ad

Jamaican sprinter mimics Virgin founder in multimillion-pound advertising campaign

Virgin Media has signed Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man and Olympic gold medal-winning Jamaican sprinter, to front a multimillion-pound campaign to promote its superfast broadband service.

The ad campaign, directed by Seth Gordon who most recently made Hollywood comedy Horrible Bosses starring Jason Bateman, launches nationwide on Saturday.

Virgin Media, which came close to signing the sprinter back in 2008 after his record-shattering appearance at the Beijing Olympics, is starting a nationwide campaign featuring Bolt and Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson.

The campaign, which launches on Saturday night with an ad during ITV1′s hit dating show Take Me Out, will promote Virgin Media’s new £110m move to double the broadband speed for its 4.1m internet customers over the next 18 months.

The TV ad, to be supported by ads in other media including national press and billboards, shows Bolt in a tongue-in-cheek attempt to impersonate Branson by taking over his office and donning his trademark blonde goatee.

The ad campaign, which has been created by agency DDB London, introduces the strapline “Keep Up” that Virgin Media will use in future marketing activity.

“It is a brilliantly simple idea but the trick was to avoid the obvious sportsman endorsement cliches,” said Jeff Dodds, executive director of brand and marketing communications at Virgin Media.

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