TBWA launches Virgin music drive

Virgin Megastore has launched a pounds 7 million campaign through TBWA/London that aims to reassert the brand's association with passion for music.

The campaign, which broke this week, focuses on the extreme musical interests of different Virgin customers.

One 20-second TV execution introduces viewers to a Jimi Hendrix obsessive who refers to his hero as the 'spirited king' of the Fender Stratocaster guitar. The lanky music junkie adds that his favourite Fender is the pool cue propped beside him on his sofa. In true VH1 'rockumentary' style, he points out his cue/guitar's pick-up and other features, before producing a tennis ball. 'This is something I do use,' he confesses. 'A genuine wah-wah pedal.' Standing on the ball, he then plays The Star-Spangled Banner on the pool cue.

Two other TV spots feature a DJ rhapsodising about the smell of vinyl and admitting that his pursuit of records has driven him into debt, and two R&B-loving girls at the hairdresser before a night's clubbing. The spots end with the line: 'Whatever turns you on.'

The TV spots will be supported by national press executions, which feature Elvis fans surrounded by memorabilia and a man standing in a shrine to Dolly Parton.

In February, Virgin had threatened to abandon music sales following a dispute with record labels, claiming that it was offered worse terms than internet start-up music suppliers. However, the latest campaign shows a determination to compete.

'This campaign is an antidote to technology fixation,' TBWA's creative director, Trevor Beattie, said. 'It's about people's love of music and those who create it.'

The ads were written by Stuart Harkness and art directed by Kerry Hawkins.

The TV spots were directed by David Lodge through Outsider. The press ads were photographed by Richard Ansett. Media planning and buying is by the Media Planning Group.

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