Virgin Atlantic was founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson 29 years ago. Today, Virgin Atlantic flies to 36 destinations worldwide, including locations across North America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Far East and Australia. The airline currently has a fleet of 40 aircraft, which includes Boeing 747s, Airbus A340-600, A340-300 and A330-300s, as well as four leased A320s on the Little Red routes. Virgin Atlantic is expecting delivery of 16 Boeing 787 Dreamliners from September 2014.
‘Flying in the Face of Ordinary’ is the new Virgin Atlantic global brand proposition.
FITFOO brings to life Virgin Atlantic’s innovative and pioneering spirit. The new proposition captures the airline’s passion for flight and demonstrates how Virgin Atlantic goes beyond the norm to deliver unforgettable experiences for its passengers.
FITFOO describes what we do, how we behave, why we stand out from the crowd – our people, places, experience and style. It refers to all elements of our business, but in particular our staff and our experience which makes the airline what it is.
“Our staff holds the keys to the future of Virgin Atlantic,” says Rachel Coffey, Country Manager: West Africa. “They work so hard and we are delighted to dedicate this new advert to them. I believe it takes a special kind of person to work at Virgin Atlantic, and we’re always on the lookout for gifted young people to take our business forward.”
Over the last few decades, flying has become a common feature of everyday life – whether for short breaks, holidays in exotic destination or business trips within Nigeria and around the world. As flying has increased, so too have expectations. Virgin Atlantic provides the alternative that consumers need, setting us aside from the rest of the industry.
“We wanted to capture the essence of Virgin Atlantic with this new campaign, and bring the glamour and fun back into long-haul travel,” says Coffey. “Flying in the Face of Ordinary is more than a marketing campaign – it is a powerful brand proposition and long-term platform that will be reflected in all areas of the business, from communications and marketing to product and service.”
The advertisement is based upon the lives of real people who work at the airline today, and traces the lives of the gifted youngsters born with special skills, and how they later use those talents to become outstanding employees at the airline.
One child has an amazing love of flight, and then goes on to become a leading pilot. Another has a keen interest in how things work and later becomes one of the country’s leading design engineers. Others with excellent people and intuition skills become outstanding cabin crew members and ground staff.
The advertisement will be broadcast on TV stations across Nigeria. Print and outdoor ads will follow, and will showcase the airline’s iconic cabin crew alongside the airline’s cabin experiences and destinations.
Q and A
Rachel Coffey has been with Virgin Atlantic for 10 years, and has worked in various departments and markets. She started her career as an aerospace engineer with Airbus UK, having gained a first class degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Hertfordshire.
Q: If ‘Flying in the Face of Ordinary’ is about experience, people and championing the consumer, why the focus on staff in the advert?
A: We constantly outscore our competitors on our distinctive brand of customer service. We believe that the people who come to work at Virgin Atlantic are special – they have something in their DNA. They are passionate about our brand and our customers, and their commitment, care and ambition means that they go the extra mile. For us, they are the ‘heroes’ who make the customers’ experiences so memorable.
Q: Why the superheroes?
A: Because we wanted to pay tribute to the fantastic staff who ‘fly in the face of ordinary’ every day, which is what superheroes do, by definition, although of course we’re using the notion of superheroes humorously. We wanted to use a genre that was easily understood globally, and with research we found that these conventions live across all cultures worldwide.
Q: What’s the background to the origins of Virgin Atlantic?
A: Richard Branson launched Virgin Atlantic to challenge the tired old status quo and infuse some freshness and fun into the customer experience. His aim was to give passengers a true alternative choice, and make flying a unique experience.
Q: How long has Virgin Atlantic been in Lagos, Nigeria?
A: Since 2001. I am proud to say we are the only international airline with Nigerian cabin crew onboard our flights between Lagos and London. This is because we want our passengers to feel at home and confident onboard our flights. But it also demonstrates our commitment to Nigeria and investment in local people. Nigeria is a profitable route for us, but it has been a challenging few years, particularly on our African routes. However, we are confident about the future – we have a number of things that have started this year that will help return the airline to profitability.
Q: What about Virgin Atlantic Little Red?
A: It’s our UK domestic service, with flights to Manchester, Aberdeen and Edinburgh from London Heathrow. Little Red brings connectivity across the UK for passengers from Nigeria, including students to Manchester and oil companies to Aberdeen. It also opens up Lagos as a destination to people in Manchester, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
Q: Anything else worth mentioning?
A: We’ve also launched a new direct connection to JFK, which works extremely well with our flights between London Heathrow and Lagos. There’s also the new relationship with Delta, which opens up 45 connecting destinations in the US to our passengers, along with great frequent flyer benefits. This joint venture will make a huge difference to us as a business, and will offer passengers flying to the US a strong alternative to other alliances.
As an airline, we believe flying should be a unique and exciting experience. Our people, our experience and our service are different to other airlines. We like to say that we ‘Fly in the Face of Ordinary’.