When Virgin Atlantic moved from RKCR/Y&R to adam&eveDDB there was something akin to outrage in the UK agency business. Why on earth were they moving? What was wrong with VA’s (undeniably enticing) red-suited leggy lovelies?
As this coincided with the departure of long-serving and highly-respected VA boss Steve Ridgway and Virgin swapping Singapore Airlines for a new partnership – aka moneybags relationship – with America’s Delta Airlines, there were clearly fears that VA’s big brand might be diluted.
Delta and Virgin have obviously been doing some hard thinking: specifically that most people buy air travel on price these days and that’s a problem for VA. The people who are prepared (and able) to pay a bit more are the kind of people who loved those old Virgin ads – business travellers.
So adam&eve’s first campaign for VA, ‘The Idea’ is aimed fairly and squarely at the business traveller, with barely a leggy lovely in sight. And, mercifully, no Richard Branson.
The old stuff was fun, although VA has found turning a profit hard for the past few years.
But VA had to move on. Have adam&eve and the new Virgin regime cracked it? At least there seems to be a plan (although the airline still needs to get its prices in line) – and it’s a stylish ad.