Virgin Atlantic has unveiled the hardest hitting ad yet in its assault
on British Airways.
The latest execution comes in the form of a quiz called ‘Two Bob
Doubletalk’, which appeared as a double-page spread in national
newspapers this week.
The ad, created by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe in collaboration with
the Virgin boss, Richard Branson, presented a series of quotations from
Bob Ayling, the chief executive of British Airways, and Bob Crandall,
the president of American Airlines.
BA and AA are negotiating an alliance which is being investigated by the
Office of Fair Trading. The OFT must decide whether or not to refer the
deal to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. Virgin is stepping up
pressure for the referral as the decision becomes imminent.
The ad invites readers to guess which Bob said what from declarations
including ‘The dominant position of BA stifles competition’ and ‘If the
British want a deal, it will have to be pretty much on US terms’. Media
on the campaign is through Manning Gottlieb Media.
Will Whitehorn, Virgin’s corporate affairs director, said: ‘We want to
make people aware of the inconsistent nonsense that has been talked
about the proposed merger.’
Michael Blunt, head of news at BA, defended the ‘doublespeak’ by saying
that, as the rules change, so do the positions of the airline bosses. ‘I
am surprised that Virgin is spending so much money on this campaign,’ he