Virgin Atlantic has unveiled a new TV spot, which marks a change in creative direction for the airline. It’s goodbye to super-glam aircrew and hello to go-getting passengers.
The ad, entitled "The Idea," tracks a customer on a transatlantic journey to a make-or-break meeting where he will pitch his grand plan. The action is seen from the protagonist’s point of view and shows many of the delights of Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class services, including a smarten-up haircut at a Virgin Clubhouse spa.
Seen through the eyes of our hero, the meeting itself resembles a gathering of the UN Security Council where he is initially treated with disdain ("Who is this clown?") but emerges triumphant.
This all adds up to underpin the new positioning, which the airline says reflects a renewed focus on its customers and is intended to encourage them to follow their dreams. The ad voiceover adds: "Life doesn’t come to you, so go to it" and the overall global campaign uses a new strapline "Let It Fly." The spot is set to the Depeche Mode track "Personal Jesus" and it's narrated by Andy Serkis, known for his motion capture performances in The Hobbit series and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
It is the first ad for the airline from new agency Adam & Eve/DDB, which was appointed in August 2014. The shift came after major changes at the airline, which saw Delta Air Lines acquire a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic in a deal first announced in December 2012. Around the same time, former Eurostar head of customer experience Reuben Arnold was appointed director of brand and customer experience.
Previously, Virgin Atlantic had enjoyed a 20-year partnership with WPP ad shop Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R (from which three of Adam & Eve/DDB’s founders hail).
During its tenure RKCR/Y&R produced many award-winning campaigns memorable for making the ground and cabin crew seem preternaturally stylish and charismatic. Its last effort from December 2012 endowed them with superpowers and used the strapline, Flying in the Face of Ordinary.
The new ad broke in the U.K. on January 3 and is backed by print, digital, out of home and social media executions showcasing experiences in destinations that Virgin Atlantic flies to.