Audi has utilised its brand partnership with South African Olympic runner and world record holder, Wayde van Niekerk, in a brand campaign which is titled #Lane8. The brand campaign is driven on social media and centres on Wayde’s historic victory at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, where he broke a 17 year old world record in the 400 metre sprint, from the eighth lane.
The #Lane8 campaign is aimed at inspiring South Africans to strive for greatness and to overcome doubt and hardship no matter the challenge faced. The main video which is part of this campaign, is an emotional account of how one can defy the odds, with a positive mind-set and a resilient attitude, using the metaphorical link to Wayde’s personal life story and sporting success in athletics. Considering the personal and professional challenges faced by many South Africans today, the campaign message strives to inspire and motivate as we move forward amidst the effects and impact of a global pandemic.
“I believe that anyone can be a champion of their own progress. No matter your background, history or current circumstance, if you can bravely adopt a fearlessly optimistic belief, your purpose and will to progress is unstoppable. We are not defined by our challenges but by how we rise above it to succeed,” explains Wayde van Niekerk.
Wayde is acknowledged as one of the most inspirational South Africans of his generation and a home-grown world champion. He was the first athlete to run the 100 metres in less than 10 seconds, the 200 metres in under 20 seconds and 400 metres in under 44 seconds.
His historic win in the 400 metres final at the 2016 Olympic Games, not only broke a world record that had stood for 17 years, but it also marked the first time that an athlete had won an Olympic race, starting from the eighth lane.
Due to the staggered start in track and field events, athletes starting from the eighth lane are at a disadvantage, often with no view of their competitors until the last sprint. This makes it difficult to pace yourself or gauge your closest competitor.
Following his world-record feat, Wayde sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury during 2017 and has spent a long period in rehabilitation before returning to competitive running this year, with an eye on next year’s Olympic Games in Japan.
“Despite the many challenges that he has faced, Wayde has never let his circumstances hold him back,” said Tarryn Knight, Head of Marketing and Product at Audi South Africa. “He exemplifies performance, bravery, resilience and progress, which resonates with our brand values of Vorsprung. We are proud to have partnered with him on the #Lane8 campaign and excited to share a heart-warming, local content piece with South Africa,” concluded Knight.