Virgin Atlantic: Still Red Hot



Silver Award

A look at how Virgin Atlantic’s ‘Still Red Hot’ campaign reaffirmed the glamour of the brand to travellers, driving revenue and producing a payback of over £10 for every £1 spent: a virtuoso demonstration of how to use TV, fame and emotion to combat tough times.


In the summer of 2008, the airline industry saw passenger numbers falling and soaring oil prices. 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 advert 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 travelers. ‘Still Red Hot’ is estimated to have driven 20% of overall revenue during the campaign timeline, equating to a payback of £10.58 for every £1 invested. The brand TV alone delivered a payback of £14.64. This film tells the story of 2010 IPA effectiveness Award winning paper and goes on to explore what happened next for Virgin Atlantic, including how the success of this campaign allowed them to take a more global approach to their advertising. It looks at the campaign’s challenger strategy; how the campaign was planned and the ad was made; campaign results and payback and also wider learning for the industry.

Judge’s comment

“Virgin used their 25th anniversary to produce an astonishing creative that captured Virgin’s spirit. This is a great example of emotional advertising driving fantastic sales results.”

Steve Sharp,
Executive Director of Marketing,
Marks & Spencer

Appearing on film:

  • Breda Bubear - Head of Advertising and Communications, Virgin Atlantic
  • Zehra Chatoo, Strategy Director, Manning Gottlieb OMD
  • Richard Exon, CEO, RKCR/Y&R
  • Mark Roalfe, Chairman & Founder, RKCR/Y&R

With additional effectiveness insights from:

  • David Golding, Founding Partner, Adam & Eve; Convenor of Judges 2010 IPA Effectiveness Awards
  • Marie Oldham, Chief Strategy Officer, MPG; Deputy Convenor of Judges 2010 IPA Effectiveness Awards

Our thanks to Breda, Mark, Richard and Zehra for helping to make this film, and to David and Marie for their effectiveness insight contributions.


Silver Award

Virgin Atlantic

This film is based on a Grand Prix award winning IPA paper. Here are the details.


Full Title: Still red hot, even in a downturn

Award: 2010 IPA Effectiveness Awards, Silver

Client: Virgin Atlantic

Credited companies: RKCR/Y&R - Creative Agency, Manning Gottlieb OMD - Media Agency, Virgin Atlantic - Client

Authors: Richard Cordiner - RKCR/Y&R  with Joanna Bamford, Tom Barnes, RKCR/Y&R; Zehra Chatoo, Manning Gottlieb OMD; Tosin Osho and Paul Sturgeon, BrandScience