Virgin Blue started flying as a domestic airline in Australia in May 2000, not long before the demise of Ansett Australia. They’ve recently started Virgin Pacific Blue, an international service across the Tasman to New Zealand. Virgin is known as the no frills airline with a taste of irreverence and personal service. Richard Branson’s entrepreneurial flair and sense of humour is apparent in the cheeky chat line provided by cabin crew and in the painting of scantily clad women on the front of the planes.
That same sense of humour is found in Virgin Blue’s television advertising, created by Melbourne agency Cummins and Partners.
In “Minibar” a businessman walks into his hotel room with a bag from Quicka Liquor. He walks over to the fridge, replacing a bottle of Stella Artois beer in the minibar with his cheaper version. In flies the text: “Keeping Costs Down”. “Do you do business the Virgin Blue way? virginblue.com.au”. Filming was shot by director Chris Begley via Renegade Films with producer Richard Hearman.
In “Scheduled Parking Metre” an unscrupulous parking meter warden fiddles with a meter to speed up the counting down of minutes. Within seconds he’s ready to issue a ticket, only to be foiled by the driver arriving and driving off. “Staying on Schedule. Do you do business the Virgin Way?” Another ad from Chris Begley with producer Richard Hearman at Renegade Films Australia.
Virgin Blue host a number of their television ads on their media page…
Bucks Party featured a near naked feathered bucks party veteran who is rescued by the check in attendant. Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)
Cover Band is the story of professional men on their way to perform as a Kiss cover band, helped out with make-up by cabin crew.
Car Park tells the story of a woman struggling with grocery bags, helped out by Virgin baggage handlers. Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)
Cinema features a couple helped to their seats at the movies by a Virgin airport worker. Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)
Locked Out featured a man locked out of his house, rescued by a Virgin Blue team with a passenger bridge. Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)
Toilet features a man in the airport toilet, surprised by the ringing of his mobile phone, but even more surprised when a Virgin staff member reaches into his pocket, answers it and tells him to ring the office. In early TV advertisements the words “If only you got Virgin Blue service everywhere” were presented on red billboards at the end of each clip. Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)
Roger Nance and John Sakro, Cummins and Partners creative directors, working with Prodigy Films Tim Bullock, caught the imagination of the Australian public with a slightly more clever version of the earlier series.
In “Baggage” a couple fight in the bedroom. He says, “So you want me to leave then. Is that what you’re saying?” She says, “Oh well yeah you think you’re so good then why don’t ya?” “OK. I’m out of here.” “Fine! Not soon enough!” “See you later!” “Yeah whatever.” As the guy throws clothes into his suitcase he hears the voice of what turns out to be a Virgin Blue cabin crew member. “Hi do you need a hand with your bag?” “Oh. Yeah. Thankyou.” She pulls his suitcase out as he waves to his wife, a little startled though as he sees a male cabin attendant bring her a coffee. As the door shuts, the camera pans to a wall hanging, with the embroidered words: “If only you got Virgin Blue service everywhere”. Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)
In “Lift” (Elevator) four people walk into a highrise lift dedicated to floors 16 to 28. An older businessman stands in the foreground, flanked by a young courier, with another two executives behind him. They all become aware of flatulent gas. All of a sudden gas masks drop down and a voice says, “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Pull the mask firmly down towards you. Place it over your nose and mouth and secure with the strap. Continue to breathe normally.” A Virgin Blue cabin crew member demonstrates. On the lift door appears the words: “If only you got Virgin Blue service everywhere”. Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)
In “Nightclub” we’re in a public men’s toilet. Inside one of the graffiti-lined cubicles is a heavily built man bound and gagged with gaffer tape. Outside is a queue of punters waiting to enter the night club. So that must have been the bouncer. Out come the Virgin Blue cabin staff who smilingly greet their clients as they all walk in. “Hi guys! How are you?” Meanwhile, back on the toilet door is a message written with a marker pen: “If only you got Virgin Blue service everywhere”. Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)
In “Muffs” a man and woman are driving on an Australian city street. He’s driving. She’s talking. “She was telling me that her sister-in-law Martha – she started that yoga centre that Anna and I used to go to. Remember that? Oh well Anna’s now a size 14. It’s terrible I tell you. Anyway apparently she’s also done a course in home decorating and she’s got a book on Feng Shui. Apparently her kids Megan and Tristan – well they babysat for Dennis and ah Gloria. Remember them? And they went to school with our kids, Darren and Warren. I bumped into her the other day and apparently she’s moved down to Hobart. Or was it Tasmania?” In the middle of this monologue a Virgin Blue staff member sits up in the back seat, reaches over and puts ear muffs on the male driver, gives him a reassuring pat on the shoulder and lies down again. As the car approaches roadworks, there’s a roadsign with the words: “If only you got Virgin Blue service everywhere”. Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)
Muffs and Baggage were shortlisted for the Cannes Lions 2005.
The most recent campaign has developed around the concept of personal attention. Tom Andrews, a fictional businessman, is the focus of the current campaign aimed at the corporate traveller. He sits in 7C but he’s not just a number. As Tom walks into the plane we see the cabin from his point of view, with particular attention paid to blondes. “This is a Virgin Blue flight as seen by passenger Tom Andrews.” We now cross over to view of the cabin attendant closing Tom’s luggage compartment. “This is passenger Tom Andrews as seen by Virgin Blue crew member, Shey Phillips.” Tom is the only passenger on board. Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)