Profile: Sir Charlie Mayfield

John Lewis Partnership Chairman

Virgin Atlantic offers alternative to 'bland and beige'

Virgin Atlantic is launching its first major brand campaign in more than two years featuring a television spot claiming its cabin crew offer an alternative to the “bland, beige, can’t be bothered” service offered by rivals.

The global campaign introduces a new strapline, “Flying in the face of Ordinary” in a bid to reinforce the airline’s added value positioning.

The RKCR/Y&R created TV spot tells the story of how the “special gifts” its cabin crew possessed growing up help them offer customers a “welcome splash of red in a weary world of grey”.

Outdoor and print ads highlighting cabin experiences though collaged photographs will back the TV spot. A content hub on the carrier’s website will include the stories of Virgin Atlantic staff who informed the TV spot.

Virgin Atlantic marketing director Simon Lloyd says: “We wanted to capture the essence of Virgin Atlantic with this new campaign and bring the glamour and fun back into long-haul travel. “Flying in the Face of Ordinary” is more than a marketing campaign; it is a powerful brand proposition and long term platform that will be reflected in all areas of the business from communications and marketing to product and service.”

The airline signaled a renewed focus on customer experience earlier this month when it recruited former Eurostar executive Reuben Arnold to the newly created customer service director role.

The launch of the spot comes just two weeks after Singapore Airlines sold its 49 per cent in Virgin Atlantic to Delta Air Lines for £224m. Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson was forced to deny the deal spelled the end of the Virgin brand after Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways parent IAG, wagered the airline would disappear in the next five years.

Virgin Atlantic’s last brand campaign in October 2010 was soundtracked by Muse’s cover of “Feeling Good” and used the “your airline’s either got it or it hasn’t” strapline.

Readers' comments (8)

  • I saw this ad last night and my first thought was major cheese factor! Quite sexualised too, but that's nothing new with Virgin.

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  • Only Virgin could live up to this - great brand campaign. It's got standout, oozes confidence, quirky, stylish and a bit of fun. Perfect VS !

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  • After my Virgin Atlantic experience late last year, I doubt I'll fly again. No alcohol, no vegetarian food at one point, entertainment systems which are archaic - very beige, very bland, very can't be bothered.

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  • I agree with Tony - it's important that the customer experience lives up to the message being advertised. It's all well and good having a great brand campaign, but if it doesn't filter down to what the customer experiences then your going to end up with a lot of dissatisfied customers. For me, getting the Customer Service experience right first is the most important thing, before splashing out on a fancy ad campaign.

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  • I was told I should bring my own food on board once as they couldn't guarantee meal choices. They don't put that in the ad.

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  • not lived up to the last two campaigns - Virgin's point of difference is being sexy and cool. this is more like BA's 'born to serve' or whatever its called.

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  • Utter slick drivel. What happened to Virgin Atlantic just as they were about to reach legacy status?

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  • oh dear lord, this is so cheesy. I can understand 'extraordinary folks' becoming pilots, maybe even a the folks who designs airline seats. But a concierge, air steward, hostess. I would have those those 'genius kids' would have go one to become people who change the world for the better. But instead, they serve us coffee and put our bags up at Virgin. ROTFL, what a load of a horse-shit campaign is this...

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