Campaign reports that Adam&Eve/DDB has won the £20m Virgin Atlantic account. Which – if true and it surely is – is probably the least surprising news of the year.
Richard Branson’s carrier has been at RKCR/Y&R for about 20 years. The problem for the agency is that the key members of its senior management decided to quit and set up Adam&Eve, the prelude to a potentially lucrative buy-out by Omnicom’s DDB with a figure of up to £60m reported for the new DDB team headed by A&E founders James Murphy, David Golding and Ben Priest.
A&E pitched against Y&R, AMV/BBDO and the much smaller Brooklyn Brothers in a pitch handled by Creative Brief. It was always likely that the account, once it had decided to review (for reasons which aren’t entirely clear) would head to the old guard and their new agency.
Virgin Atlantic has a new management, however, headed by US veteran Craig Kreeger who replaced long-serving Virgin boss Steve Ridgway a year ago plus a new marketing team with led by director of ‘brand and customer experience’ Reuben Arnold (where do they get these titles from?). So A&E doubtless had to prove its worth.
But with a sackful of Cannes Grand Prix for Harvey Nichols and a formidable record on the likes of John Lewis there wasn’t much doubt that Virgin Atlantic would head in A&E’s direction.
The only question now is: will A&E dare depart from Virgin’s red-clad leggy lovelies (the cabin staff), the heroines of the ads since the year dot?