Virgin America is launching an integrated multi-media campaign that features some of the airline’s frequent flyers. At the centerpiece of the campaign is a digital experience that brings the airline’s next generation cabins to life with cinematic flair – through the eyes of a few of its most frequent travellers.
The campaign highlights Virgin America ‘Originals,’ frequent flyers known for shaking up the status quo in their own fields – including indie film director Kevin Smith, Pandora founder Tim Westergren, Animal and Son of a Gun chef Vinny Dotolo and independent artist/Facebook Creative Strategist Ji Lee. Virgin America also invited these same frequent flyers to curate aspects of the airline’s already unique in-cabin experience – including playlists, film picks and new menu items offered via the touch-screen Red™ in-flight entertainment platform.
“For years, flying domestically had largely become a dismal, uninspired experience. When Virgin America launched, the idea that a domestic airline could reinvent that experience – through technology, design and entertainment – was still a pretty radical notion,” said Luanne Calvert, Vice President of Marketing at Virgin America.
“But from the day the airline started flying, our cabin experience has attracted travelers who believed in us – believed an airline could do better, and many of them also happened to be challenging the status quo in their own fields. Those flyers have been some of our most loyal guests, they’ve inspired us – and this campaign was a natural extension of that.”
“Our cabin experience is so different, and for a young airline still new to many – it is tough to convey just how different it is, especially in a category where we’ve been trained to think ‘you’ve seen one airline, you’ve seen them all.’ So we focused a lot on video, an immersive digital portal and creative OOH – as well as a social layer,” said Jesse McMillin, Creative Director at Virgin America. “Most of our success has been based on word-of-mouth. The challenge is trying to share that Virgin experience with someone who has never flown. We thought who better to bring our cabin experience to life than our frequent flyers?”
The “Originals” campaign includes digital media executions and vibrant out-of-home (OOH) advertising with a social layer that engages consumers in the airline’s product experience, including its offering of fleetwide WiFi, on-demand films, live TV and music playlists at every seat, interactive features like videogames, Google Maps, seat-to-seat chat and on-demand food ordering.
The airline is inviting fellow travellers to be part of the campaign by using the hashtag #MyVXExperience to send photos of their “original” Virgin America experience at 35,000 feet – via the airline’s Gogo In-flight WiFi. The photos will become part of the digital experience, culminating later this month in a unique live feed to Times Square from Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson and fellow Virgin America flyers.
The campaign also features a wrap of a BART transit tunnel in the airline’s hometown of San Francisco, with the rich imagery of the in-flight experience brought to life for commuters. Key media markets include San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, New York City and Philadelphia.