Virgin Media’s Usain Bolt vs BT Infinity’s Annoying Teenagers

Recently I saw the following two adverts, and wanted to write about how much I loved one and hated the other. It was only when I sat down to start writing that I realised that they are both advertising broadband, so that worked out nicely.


Virgin Media – ‘Keep Up’ Campaign

Getting Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, to promote fast broadband is both obvious and genius at the same time. He’s fast, obviously, but he’s also funny and likeable.

The tagline ‘keep up’ is also brilliant, as it comes across as a snipe at all the other broadband companies: “Look, we have the fastest broadband and fastest man on the planet endorsing it… keep up.”

BT Infinity – ‘Flat 6′ Campaign

I can totally see what BT are trying to do with this: 3 young ‘trendy’ people, all with laptops and phones and games consoles and Skype and whatnot, all successfully using the same broadband connection. It’s a good premise, but it’s just so… forced.

When the guy says “There’s not enough broadband capacity to support 3 computers…” I just want to throw things. Who speaks like that? Not teenagers. Actually, I know – a boardroom full of BT executives.

There’s a whole (painfully slow) micro-site for this campaign too: http://www.productsandservices.bt.com/consumer/flat6/chapter_2/ “Two guys. One girl. One amazing connection.” A love triangle centered around broadband? Really?

This could have been a lot better. As I said, the idea is not a bad one, but the execution is very cheesy and there is nothing inherently gripping about the characters. There’s a load more of these ads to come, so we’ll see if they improve.

So, well done Virgin Media. As for BT, please bring back Adam and Jane. Thanks.

**UPDATE**

As my blog’s traffic consists entirely of people trying to find out who the actress who play’s the girl in the BT advert is, I am very helpfully telling you all that her name is Rebecca Night. You might recognise her from Lark Rise to Candleford or loads of other random costume dramas that I haven’t seen.

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Comments (8) Write a comment

  1. You of course know the massive irony of the BT ad…

    We had BT broadband infinity at the family home. 7 Members home for Christmas the thing couldn’t cope. After five devices it cut one off. Maybe the guy got it right the first time…

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  2. “please bring back Adam and Jane”

    Goodness no! Those adverts were worse… if anything could be worse than the “not enough broadband capacity” line!

    And I have to say the Virgin one is pretty bad too (I had no idea it was Usain Bolt, and I think most people wouldn’t know who he was or that he’s the fastest runner unless it was pointed out).

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    • Duncan,

      it does say “Bolt” on his top, and he does say that he is the fastest runner- if you know who Usain Bolt is, you should have been able to realise it was him from those clues.

      If you think “most people” don’t know who Usain Bolt is, I disagree- he is the most successful runner currently.

      The joke wouldn’t work so well if it was make too obvious who he was- I’m glad they did it subtly. Personally, it’s one of the few adverts on TV that I enjoy.

      Reply

  3. I just spilled some bile over that dreadful BT Infinity saga, which I think is three times worse than the average broadband marketing campaign. Sorry, four times worse.

    I’ve been threatening to write it since I first read your post, so here it is: http://bit.ly/zDwtBV

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  4. I currently have horrible broadband from Orange. Totally disagree and am shocked to seem to be in the minority. BT Infinity ad is the funniest on TV at the moment. The landlord is a loveable loser with no hope of getting a girl, and he comes up with the worst possible excuse to turn away the guy (thanks a lot fibreoptic technology). Usain Bolt pretending to be Richard Brandson however is totally unfunny.

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  5. I can’t stand those Virgin Media ads. Smacks of a complete lack of imagination: “What’s fast and a celebrity? Usain Bolt.” I sounds like a really bad joke. Guy’s also got all the personality of a stick and is about as wooden on screen.

    The copy that accompanies the billboard iteration is also utterly terrible. “I, Richard Branson, am superfast. That’s why I’m doubling broadband speeds”. Way to badly sum up an unimaginative premise.

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  6. I must be in the minority here, I think the BT adverts are hilarious. I would even go as far as to say they should write a comedy series based on these three characters. Hey, each to their own!

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  7. I guess maybe you prefer the BT one because the centre character is a right-on black personality, as opposed the the BT one where all three are white, and not a black face in sight. How refreshing!

    Reply

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