The story behind the joint Christmas ad by Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines

Despite a four-year partnership, "Together, we make togetherness" is the first joint-ad by Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines, and it won't be the last.

The campaign by US ad agency Figliulo & Partners (F&P) launched on 11 December in both the UK and the US and features a long-form seasonal spot titled "The prodigal brother". 

Directed by Tim Godsall, who has also directed ads for Old Spice, Southern Comfort and ESPN, the ad tells the story of two estranged brothers who are reconciled on Christmas morning.

"Christmas advertising is filled with big, emotional storytelling. We wanted to deliver that feeling, so we
went with the classic Christmas story about a dead yak, a magic spider, Socrates and karate," Scott
Vitrone, partner and chief creative officer of F&P, said.

The campaign will run in both the US. and the UK through to Christmas Day, and will feature a 15-second trailer, plus a 2:10 and a 3:30 long-form film. It will run across all of Delta and Virgin Atlantic’s social channels and on-demand video in the UK (All4 and ITV).

"While our marketing teams [across Virgin and Delta] have been collaborating more than ever, it's the first time we've come together for a broadcast film. We're planning more of this next year and it reflects the greater collaboration between our two companies," Claire Cronin, senior vice-president marketing, Virgin Atlantic, told Campaign. "We're planning on quarterly campaigns next year."

F&P will lead the airlines' JV work going forward as "they're based in the US and have a sizeable client base in Atlanta where the Delta HQ is", Cronin explained. "Adam&EveDDB's relationship with Virgin remains unchanged."

Beyond ads, this closer collaboration has extended to co-locating the Virgin marketing team in the US with Delta. This has led to ideas sharing, such as Delta introducing complimentary Prosecco on long-haul flights, something not that usual in the US. 

The ad itself emphasises connecting with loved ones, family and friends, Cronin said. "It's set in the UK because Delta wants to grow its familiarity and awareness here."

"Holiday ads are iconic in the UK so it was fitting to launch this ad at a time families and friends come together for the holidays," Jake Abe, general manager,  JV marketing strategy and communications, Delta, said. "This ad is all about togetherness, which we think is something special about the holiday season, as well as our partnership. We’re two airlines in a true partnership, working together to give customers on both sides of the Atlantic the best service and most options."

Oh and, if they had to choose, which airline is which brother? "I'd have to say Virgin is the lovable rogue of a prodigal brother," Cronin revealed.

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