Audi is telling the inspiring story of South African Olympic runner and world record holder Wayde van Niekerk in a series of videos that form the heart of a campaign s 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 (above) 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 strives to inspire and motivate as we move forward amid the effects and impact of a global pandemic.
“I believe that anyone can be a champion of their own progress,” says Wayde van Niekerk. “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.”
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 a combination of 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 this 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,” says 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.”