Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic Finds Brexit’s Silver Lining

With the Brexit vote and the subsequent decline of the pound, we turned lemons into lemonade by highlighting to foreign travelers that there’s never been a better (or cheaper) time to visit London.

Virgin Atlantic | Strategy, Branding, Content, Film

Challenge

In the months that followed the shock of Brexit, leisure travel was way down. International travelers were nervous to fly into London and had the impression that this city wasn’t a very fun place to visit. We needed to find a way to increase consideration outside our core business fliers, and instead win over a large and more spontaneous segment: millennial leisure travelers.

One Story

Through social monitoring and quick thinking the team came up with a way to turn Brexit to our advantage. Thanks to Brexit the value of the pound dropped significantly, meaning everything in London was less expensive for foreign visitors. We put a positive spin on the U.K.’s economic situation, showing travelers that there’s never been a better time to visit London or a better time to experience Virgin Atlantic. The Bright Side of Brexit was born.

Many Voices

The campaign was built with the BrexitCalculator.com at the heart: a mobile friendly website putting the power to calculate savings directly into traveller’s hands. The calculator showed how travelers could now save on all kinds of quintessential British products and experience, such as a London pub crawl,, a ride on a penny farthing, a Savile Row suit, and a plate of fish and chips. This opportunistic campaign was a new way to drive consumers into the purchase funnel. The calculator was supported by an online film, digital and social media. And in typical Virgin style, we launched the campaign on the day that the U.K. formally triggered Article 50, guaranteeing a PR bump.

Outcome

The campaign was a resounding success beating all benchmarks. We doubled our awareness goal increasing from 75 to 81 points from spring 2016 to spring 2017. Action in the sales funnel grew from 36 to 41 without a promotional fare. Advocacy increased by four points, beating all goals and reaching the highest advocacy rating in nine years of tracking. (And while British Airways’ advocacy score was tanking). Last and most importantly, we outperformed even our most optimistic goals, delivering a 2:1 return on marketing investment. Thanks to results like these, the campaign was awarded a Gold Effie this year.

2 to 1 return on marketing investment

2x increase in awareness

"We recognized that when Brexit was announced at the end of last year that—from an airline’s perspective—it represented both a challenge and an opportunity. With this campaign, we celebrate the opportunity it exposed for U.S.-based travellers to the UK in a clever way.”

– Jenna Lloyd, Head of Marketing, Virgin Atlantic

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