Virgin America encourages flyers to dump their old airline


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Virgin America today rolls out a multi-media marketing campaign in Dallas-Fort Worth that invites local travelers to calculate their flying “fun gap” based on past legacy airline miles and make the switch to a “younger, hotter” airline – with an irresistible two-for-one flight offer.

The overall campaign is designed to showcase the airline’s innovative and fresh guest experience – in contrast with the typical legacy airline “cattle car.” Launched in August 2007, Virgin America has attracted a loyal following of travelers for its beautifully-designed cabins, tech-forward amenities and topnotch service. The airline launched daily nonstop flights to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) in December 2010 and kicked off the new route with a series of splashy inaugural events. Based on demand, the airline added an additional nonstop roundtrip frequency to its DFW schedule in April 2011, and currently offers DFW travelers three conveniently-timed daily nonstop roundtrip flights to both Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“Since we launched service to DFW, we’ve been overwhelmed by feedback from travelers about just how different our service is – and once they try us they often compare their past frequent flyer miles to being trapped in a bad relationship. This campaign really grew from that,” said Dimitrios Papadogonas, Director of Marketing at Virgin America. “We have also seen that once people ‘cheat’ on their old airline with us they rarely go back. We wanted to convey that experience gap between our airline and our major legacy competitors in a playful way – in one of our newest markets.”

The “Switch to Virgin America” campaign uses outdoor, online and a Web site to invite DFW flyers to dump their soon-to-be “ex-airline” and make the switch to a “younger, hotter” model. With billboard headlines like, “Better-Looking and More Eager to Please” and “Leave Your Airline for One with Game,” the campaign references Virgin America’s hip, mood-lit cabins and in-flight amenities like fleetwide WiFi, power outlets and personal touch-screen seatback entertainment with films, live TV, Google Maps, videogames, seat-to-seat chat, a 3000 MP3 library and more. The “Switch to Virgin America” campaign extends the carrier’s “Breath of Fresh Airline” national campaign, which was launched in spring of 2011.

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On the Switch to Virgin America Web site, the “Approximator” asks travelers to enter their legacy airline frequent flyer miles, and based on a miles aggregate of two of the largest legacy domestic airlines, the site calculates the “fun gap” the traveler may have experienced using a number of tongue-in-cheek data points. The “Approximator” then issues a two-for-one DFW flight offer to make up for those past experiences and to encourage travelers to “make the switch” to a new airline. “Approximator” data points include:

Number of hours of “wall-stalking” missed due to lack of consistent in-flight WiFi;

Minutes spent waiting for a drink;

Instances a traveler may have almost “purchased a garden gnome from an in-flight catalog out of sheer boredom” due to lack of in-flight entertainment;

Number of hours spent huddled around a terminal outlet instead of plugging in onboard;

Minutes spent waiting on a standby list to get an “upgrade” to another cramped seat with no TV;

Times travel plans may have been foiled by frequent flyer black-out dates and many more.