Usain Bolt’s Next Impossible Goal: Finishing a Sam’s Club Run in 3 Minutes

Allyson Felix joins him to promote the store's new mobile-checkout app

Usain Bolt tears through a Sam's Club in the brand's latest spot.

Sam’s Club wants its customers to know they can get all their shopping done in a jiffy–at the speed of, say, an Olympic sprinter. In the bulk retailer’s latest spot produced by MONO, Usain Bolt flies down the aisles to check off all 20 items, including a large unicorn and a Christmas wreath, in under three minutes, thanks to Sam’s Club’s mobile-checkout scanning system.

“In trying to showcase the speed of the technology, it was an obvious choice to feature Usain. He’s the fastest human alive and one of the greatest Olympians ever,” said Chris Lange, MONO’s founder and chief creative officer in a statement. “But when Allyson smashed his gold medal record in late September, we wanted to bring her into the concept and move at the speed of culture. They shared an awesome competitive and lighthearted chemistry with each other at Sam’s Club.”

The technology, first released in 2016, is available through a smartphone app and allows customers to scan their items as they pick them up instead of waiting for a cashier to do it in the checkout line, and then pay through the app when they complete their shopping lists. Scan & Go is just one of several pieces of tech developed by Sam’s Club in an attempt to improve customer convenience and efficiency.

In the new 90-second spot, Bolt and Felix use the app to pick up and scan 20 items as quickly as superhumanly possible.

Usain Bolt races through Sam's Club, competing to become the Fastest Shopper of All Time

Bursting into the warehouse store in a singlet bearing his name, Bolt rushes a shopping cart down aisle after aisle at full speed (well, not quite). Bolt scoops up snacks, holiday decor and even pauses to taste what appears to be a fluorescent sports drink. A crowd of employees in their signature blue vests cheer when he beats the clock. Bolt’s signature celebration is cut short with the arrival of Felix, who broke Bolt’s record for most gold medals at the track and field World Championships. Felix shoves a wad of gold medals in his chest, telling Bolt to “hold my medals” as she heads toward the starting line.

According to a release, Felix will be in some other ads talking trash with Bolt. The campaign will consist of more than a dozen pieces of unique content and a collaboration with Jimmy Kimmel Live! to air Nov. 26. It will run through the end of the year across several digital and traditional platforms.

The Minneapolis-based MONO, which has been working with Walmart since 2016, began working with Sam’s Club in March of this year. This is the first campaign MONO, which is owned by MDC Partners, has produced for Sam’s Club.

Last year, Walmart closed over 60 Sam’s Club locations, turning 12 of them into fulfillment locations to improve its online delivery.

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