Sunday, March 9, 2008

Virgin America misses the mark

There's a billboard that I've seen a couple times lately that definitely is not having the intended effect on me. OK, usually, ads don't work all that well with me because while I might remember the ad for whatever reason, I don't generally remember what brand name the ad is for. In this case, I made it a point to note what company the ad was for. The one time I've been to London, I flew British Airways. I can't remember if Virgin Atlantic was around yet - it probably was, because I think they've been around forever, but the tour I was on was using British Airways, which was fine because I liked them. So I've never flown Virgin Atlantic, and they now have a domestic branch called Virgin America. Well, I'm never going to be flying them.

Here's what the billboard sort of looked like. I say sort of because I'm not sure if the picture is cropped the same way. The picture is oriented vertically, but the billboard was oriented horizontally. However, the main part of the picture is definitely the same. (If you click on the picture, you can see a larger version of it.)

OK, so I guess this is going to appeal to the stunningly hot women who will look at the ad and think, "Oh, if I fly Virgin America, I can do my hair in my seat so I'll look fabulous when I get there, and in the meantime, I can flirt with the guy in the seat across the aisle". I'm not sure if it's in the billboard, but in this picture, you'll notice that you can see some weird-ass boot under a jeans pant leg, positioned to imply it's the person sitting in the seat across the aisle from her. OK, I'm assuming it's a man because of the weird-ass boot, but I suppose it could be some fashion-challenged lesbian too.

So this ad would also appeal to men and lesbians who will look at the ad and think, "Oh, if I fly Virgin America, some stunningly hot woman is going to be in some tiny little dress sitting provocatively next to me and flirting with me."

And then there's people like me, who looks at the ad and thinks, "I don't want someone using a blow dryer right next to me or right in front of me or right behind me. Like I want to hear "whirrrrrrrrrrr" for however long it takes her to do her hair. And if she's sitting next to me, she'll probably end up blowing it at me accidentally as well, and if she's using hair products (whatever amount of gel she can bring on the plane), I have to smell that at my seat too? Or some guy could bring his electric shaver to plug in, and then he'd be shaving at his seat, and I have to hear that thing, not to mention I'm sure his razor isn't going to catch every little hair it cuts off, so there's going to be hair bits flying around. Ewww."

In looking at the picture a little more closely, I also noticed that the couple in the seats behind her are making out severely - not some kind of little kiss or something but more like they'd like to join the mile-high club.

The next time I see the billboard, I'll try to see exactly how similar to the picture it is, whether they show the person in the seat across the aisle or the couple behind her, and I'll try not to crash my car doing it because the only times I've seen the billboard are when I've been on the 10 freeway.

Virgin America - I'm out.


JeffG said...

That advertising campaign strikes me as kind of ironic, considering the name of the airline...

Including electric outlets at the seats on airplanes, particularly for long overseas flights, is actually a very good idea, but I've never seen this particular use of them promoted before and I think it is definitely suggesting a bad idea. Generally, outlets on planes are for laptop computers or for charging portable music or DVD players. I definitely agree that using it for a hair dryer is a dumb idea.

The other obvious question to ask is whether they are trying to suggest that they have showers on their planes as well...

richard said...

Come on guys, are you being deliberately dim or just plain sarcastic?

The billboard advertisement promotes the concept that Virgin America is one of the few airlines that has 'at seat power'.

Virgin (whether it be Atlantic, America, Blue or Nigeria) always use risky concepts to get attention. Slogans like 'More experience than the name suggests', 'Extra inches where it counts' and 'You never forget your first time' set the airline out as fresh, hip, contemporary. I'd rather see their advertising than the boring ones of Continental or Delta

Cindy said...

Ummm, yeah, thanks for pointing that out. I think promoting that you can plug in your laptop and whatever else useful to you and non-annoying to others is a great idea. Their website actually does a good job of explaining that. I just think this particular advertising campaign is stupid, and it has the exact opposite effect on me that they want. If you want to see their ads, that's fine - have at it. I think it's stupid.