Tag Archive | virgin atlantic

British Airway’s should’ve stayed at home

It’s hard being number one. It’s even harder staying number one, as British Airways continue to prove.

Back in the day when they were the world’s favourite airline, the Saatchi & Saatchi boys and girls delivered campaign after campaign of pretty decent stuff. People loved the brand. People wanted to fly BA.

Then Virgin happened along. All the Asian airlines heavily invested in their product. BA stood still. They faltered. They fell behind. Worse still, BBH never seem to have taken them anywhere near the highs of years gone by. Dolphin clouds and racing luggage (which we all know so often gets lost in the depths of LHR), failed to capture the hearts the way a hint of the flower song from Lakme could do. So, a quick trip down memory lane. May look dated, but still…

Anyway, to the new BA campaign. As a domestic sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, it’s time to activate the sponsorship. Many are claiming it’s a bold message. An airline trying to convince Brits to stay at home. It’s not.

Research from previous games has shown people who left the country during games time come home, and feel they’ve missed out. Moments that pull the nation together, both good and bad. Many shared moments of national pride. Hopefully a few medals. Real highs that forgive all the transport infrastructure issues and minor inconveniences. But BA telling us to stay home and support Team GB? I just don’t buy it.

This message feels as though it should be coming from the tourist board, not the former flag carrier. It’s sad that BBH haven’t been able to generate any great work for BA, and even sadder that the ‘fly a plane down my street’ is a much heralded, and massively overhyped part of the campaign.

I don’t like knocking BA. They’re a brand I’m genuinely fond of. But they, and indeed we, deserve far, far better than this…

Iain G. Morrison is a senior marketer that will probably be flying Virgin Atlantic next time he leaves Blighty…

Hot topic of the day. British Airways seats…

£120 extra to choose our seats. Worth every penny???

£120 extra to choose our seats. Worth every penny???

British Airways has decided to charge passengers who choose their seats before they travel from 7th October…

So, who will this affect? 

Families who want to ensure they sit together, business travellers who are using the flight to work alongside fellow colleagues, and normal punters with a preference for window, aisle or emergency exit seats (am always an aisle man myself). 

The cost? Reports say this will range from £10 per person for European economy flights, to £60 for long haul trips in business class. Ouch!

BA currently allows passengers to reserve seats 24 hours prior to departure when online check-in opens. The new charge (aimed at passengers wanting to reserve seats earlier than this), can be booked between 4 and 10 days before take-off. A BA spokeswoman said:

 “Customers frequently request specific seats, but in the past we’ve only been able to confirm them 24 hours in advance or on the day. We know people want to secure them in advance and have real control over their flying experience. This will allow them to do that.”

This move is just one of a number of initiatives that aim to bolster the balance sheet (after a £401m loss in the last financial year). It follows BA’s decision to cut luggage allowances and abolish free meals on short flights.

This may be seen by many in the industry as something of an own goal, given that the airline ran a campaign a few months back looking at the comparative charges low-cost carriers charged for the add-on ‘extras’, seat selection being at the forefront of that push.

Looks like BA may be in for another bumpy PR ride over the coming weeks. Expect a tactical ad or two from Virgin Atlantic any minute NOW…

Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And thinks they may have been wiser to move to cheaper wine…

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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…

A Virgin sponsored time warp…

A year  that didn’t quite live up to Orwell’s predictions, but what a year none the less…

One brand just launched an ad to celebrate 25 years in business. Consumers rarely care about anniversary advertising, it has the self-congratulatory smack of the fat-cats in company HQ slapping themselves on the back for having reached a yet another milestone and awarding themselves another ridiculously large bonus in the process.

Not at Virgin Atlantic it would seem…

Virgin’s Atlantic’s 25th anniversary ad is nothing short of a corker. For anyone that remembers the 80’s*, this ad transports them back there in a flash, no Tardis required…

For a brand that’s on the face of it lost it’s raison d’etre of late, there was a real danger that this ad would leave consumers with nothing more than a feeling of ‘so what, you’re 25?’. However, this ad ticks all the boxes that in my mind, will make it nothing short of a classic in years to come.

Virgin celebrates the year of their birth by seamlessly transporting us back to 1984 and in the process, remind consumers what the brand stands for (then and now);  the way it shook the airline industry to its core, brought serious glamour back to international long-haul travel (whilst taking a stand against the ‘stuffy’ competition), everyone in the 80’s wanted to fly Virgin…

In carefully constructing this walk down memory lane, Virgin have seamlessly re-invigorated the modern day brand, simply by reminding the consumer that travelling Virgin was (and still is) that little bit extra special…

An anniversary ad that definetly doesn’t fall into the ‘so what’ category.

Awards beckon, and consumers (I would hope) will be left with a smile, and maybe dig out their old vinyl for some more 80’s related memories…

*Fingerless gloves optional

Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And would love to wake up in 1984. Just for the day…

p.s. I had a really interesting chat with a creative director in one of London’s finest agencies on this ad after he read my blog.

Our combined view, was that this ad excited us to the point we wish we’d both worked on it. And that it was the first outstanding TV ad either of us had seen in quite some time, harking back to the days of the classic Cinzano Bianco ads. Worth a re-visit if you aren’t familiar.

Joan Collins at her best…

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