Copywriter vs. Virgin Atlantic

Mmmmmm, slop.

Mmmmmm, slop.

So. A witty WCRS copywriter had a very bad food experience on Virgin Atlantic. Incensed, he complains. Extoling  the virtues of long copy, he writes for some 6 pages!  

What happens next? Why, the great Sir Richard Branson himself replies of course!  The way this story has rumbled on for well over a week points to two things. 

Firstly, the power of PR. This complaint has travelled the world over gathering pace (and collumn inches), as it goes.  Had Virgin Atlantic not responded and simply buried their hands in the sand, they would have done so at their own peril given the way the unhappy customers of today can broadcast their opinions far and wide at the click of a mouse…

Secondly, it shows the power of engaging with customers, especially when it centres on their negative experiences.

Brands that offer customers an outlet to complain generally favour better than those that don’t (try finding the contact us button on amazon, that’s all I’m saying).

However, those that provide a real forum, respond to the feedback and deal with it in a transparent manner; engaging in a meaninful dialogue, may well have the opportunity to stop that complaint from turning into a potential PR disaster (e.g. the ‘Stop the great HSBC graduate rip off facebook group), instead turning it into something very, very  special indeed.

Rising from the ashes, a positive brand experience; ensuring that  the once angry consumer swiftly returns to being a true brand advocate…

The cynics are claiming this is totally stage managed, and is nothing more than an attempt to generate some positive spin during Virgin Atlantic’s 25th birthday year.  Red hot indeed…

On the flip side, there are those who feel that this is simply Virgin doing what it does best; responding to an unhappy customer and moving heaven on earth to ensure they fall back in love with the brand.

Either way, it’s a bloody good story.

Spin or genuine, just read the letter and have a chuckle. And the next time someone tells you long copy doesn’t work, just have them read this…

Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And will most likely believe in long copy until his dying day…


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About igmorrison

Modern day marketing comms man. If you want to know more about me, visit: find me on twitter @igmorrison or just leave me a comment.

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