October 22, 2014

Virgin America Hits a Home Run With Its New Content Marketing Initiative

Virgin America has struck gold, again.

After launching a new website earlier this year—one which redefined airline websites, making it fun to book a flight—Virgin America has created a six-hour advertisement.

Wait, really?

Yes, Virgin America actually went there, taking its content marketing campaign to the extreme. But the ad is not about Virgin America, making the campaign that much more effective. The ad—which has gone viral on YouTube with almost 500,000 views in a week—shows consumers the opposite of a Virgin America experience.

The six-hour video is a look inside “Blah Airlines Flight 101” from Newark to San Francisco—a made-up airline and flight from the vantage point of a mannequin. From annoying passengers to kids banging on the chair in front of you, this ad full of hilarious moments takes you through an uncomfortable flight that many of us have experienced. In addition, Virgin America created a fake website for Blah Airlines, which is non-responsive, difficult to read and not mobile friendly. The slogan is “Blah Airlines: You will get there” and a testimonial reads, “If the only point in air travel is to get to your destination eventually, then I guess you could say that Blah gets the job done.”

The video and website highlight why Virgin America’s services are better than the typical airline without explicitly telling it. Because the film and website show the various pains of air travel, customers should end up concluding that Virgin America’s services are the opposite of this six-hour flight and dreadful website.

So, what lessons can marketers take away from this effective campaign? Let’s take a look:

  • Stand out from the crowd: When someone hears about a six-hour ad, how can they not watch at least some of it? The idea of a six-hour ad is incredibly intriguing, which helps make the airline stand out from its competition. As a result, consumers who used to be unfamiliar with Virgin America can now separate the airline from the rest of the pack—they’ll now identify Virgin America as being fun and creative, as well as an airline that provides top-of-the-line customer service. Moving forward, don’t just churn out your standard content marketing campaign. Instead, think outside of the box and consider new ways to market your company’s products and services. It doesn’t have to be a six-hour video, but it should be a campaign that engages consumers and gets them talking.
  • Let the consumers imagine: Some of the best campaigns do not explicitly promote the product or service. For instance, Virgin America does a great job of not claiming superiority throughout the ad, so consumers are left to imagine how Virgin America is a much better airline than Blah. So, your next content marketing campaign does not need to overtly mention your company’s name. As long as the content is entertaining and informative, and the customer leaves the campaign understanding the brand, then the campaign has been successful.

Companies can enlist the services of content strategy vendors to ensure their content marketing campaigns hit a home run. Click here to learn how we can help you at Content Boost.

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