IPA Effectiveness Awards 2010: Silver Award - Virgin Atlantic

Title: Still red hot, even in a downturn

Client: Virgin Atlantic

Entrants: RKCR/Y&R, Manning Gottlieb OMD

Author: Richard Cordiner, RKCR/Y&R

Contributing authors: Joanna Bamford, Tom Barnes, RKCR/Y&R; Zehra Chatoo, Manning Gottlieb OMD; Tosin Osho, Paul Sturgeon, BrandScience

Credited companies - Creative agency: RKCR/Y&R; media agency: Manning Gottlieb OMD

Media used: Cinema, online display, magazines, newspapers, outdoor/poster, PR, radio, search, TV, website/microsite


Using powerful iconic communications, Virgin reaffirmed the glamour of the brand to travellers, driving revenue and producing a payback of £10.58 for every £1 spent.


In the summer of 2008, the airline industry saw passenger numbers fall and oil prices soar. Virgin Atlantic's response was to increase its marketing spend and concentrate on brand-building communications to rekindle its spirit. In January 2009, Virgin Atlantic celebrated its 25th birthday by launching "Still red hot", a campaign recognisable from the TV ad featuring cabin crew dressed in iconic red, striding through Gatwick to a soundtrack from Frankie Goes To Hollywood. It delivered the confidence and glamour of the brand to travellers. "Still red hot" is estimated to have driven 20 per cent of overall revenue during the campaign timeline, equating to a payback of £10.58 for every £1 invested. The brand TV campaign alone delivered a payback of £14.64.


Virgin used its 25th anniversary to produce an astonishing creative that captured the brand's spirit. This is a great example of emotional advertising driving fantastic sales results.

Steve Sharp, executive director of marketing, Marks & Spencer.