Virgin Vie, the new cosmetics brand from the Branson empire, has
turned down pitches from three prominent ad agencies and appointed a
’virtual’ shop, centred around Trevor Robinson’s Quiet Storm, to create
its autumn launch campaign.
The decision has angered the three original agencies, which each
provided full strategy documents and extensive market research in the
course of their pitches.
After putting the unnamed agencies through a full strategic pitch, Axia
Gaitskill, Virgin Vie’s communications director, rejected all of them
and turned to Nick Manning, the managing partner of Virgin’s media
planning and buying shop, Manning Gottlieb Media, for advice.
Gaitskill said: ’None of the traditional agencies was right, so we went
for a hand-picked team. We have a group of people who are prepared to
think about what we want up front.’
The team was put together after Manning put Virgin Vie in touch with
Barry Pritchard, the managing director of the Planning Partnership.
Pritchard brought in White Door, a creative consultancy run by John
Stuart, a former joint managing director of CDP.
Stuart, Pritchard and Gaitskill then saw four creative presentations,
from which they chose Robinson and a freelance creative, Dylan Ingham,
from Quiet Storm.
Gaitskill added: ’We like to do things differently. Quiet Storm is
willing to explore every avenue and knows ads are not the be-all and
Most of Virgin Vie’s management team joined from the Body Shop which,
historically, has also shunned traditional agencies.
Quiet Storm’s campaign will support the opening of at least four stores
before Christmas, one of which is in a landmark site on London’s Oxford
Virgin Vie will launch with 500 products for men and women, including
skincare, make-up, fragrances and body and bath ranges.