Marketing Interview South Africa

Marketing Virgin Atlantic: Challenging the status quo with flair, passion and love

Virgin Atlantic Airways is known for its innovative and creative spirit - recognised for its approach to technology, customer experience and brand awareness. Both travellers and non-travellers have been delighted with its commercials and campaigns - the airline has even raked in a few awards for them. After news broke of Virgin Atlantic's new ways to fly, we spoke to Darrin Thomas, manager, marketing and communications Africa about marketing the Virgin Atlantic brand.
Darrin Thomas, Manager, Marketing and Communications Africa, Virgin Atlantic Airways
Darrin Thomas, Manager, Marketing and Communications Africa, Virgin Atlantic Airways

What do you love most about the Virgin Atlantic brand?

I love that we, at Virgin Atlantic, are always taking calculated risks - we’re always pushing the boundaries, but with the customer’s best interests always in mind. Virgin Atlantic has always been the risk taker, the renegade; the brand that challenges the status quo. We do everything with flair, passion and love.

Your favourite Virgin Atlantic campaign(s) and why?

Would I be biased in saying that every campaign is my favourite? I would have to say that our new Three New Ways To Fly is my favourite. We have thought about what our passengers want and what they look for when travelling. The people that we have used are relevant and relatable, and the campaign has brought back the excitement of flying in economy. Without giving too much away, we’ve also teamed up with a globally recognised comedian for this campaign, and so the marketing that will be rolling out over the next few weeks will be quirky, unique and true to the Virgin Atlantic brand.

What are you working on right now?

There are always a million-and-one things we are working on at Virgin Atlantic. We have just finished our Three New Ways To Fly campaign which we are all very excited about. We have also just made a very exciting announcement that we will start flying an additional flight between London Heathrow and Johannesburg from 28 October 2018. Getting an additional flight on this route is huge for us as well as for the South African economy. We will be adding an additional 188,000 seats a year (doubling our capacity) so we are currently working on grand plans for this in true Virgin Atlantic style.

What are the tools of your trade?

Love, passion and understanding.

Tell us some of the buzzwords floating around in your industry at the moment, and some of the catchphrases you utter yourself.

At the moment the biggest buzz word floating around our office is “Double Daily”. There isn’t a day, an hour, or minute that goes by when someone isn’t talking about our “Double Daily”. There is a lot of buzz in the industry at the moment around low-cost carriers, especially in the international markets.

What’s on your wish list for brand objectives for 2018?

Engagement is always at the top of my list. Virgin Atlantic always puts the customer at the heart of everything we do - without our customers, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. It’s our continued passion to make our customers happy that keep us challenged in the aviation industry.

About Cari Coetzee

Cari Coetzee is a contributor to Bizcommunity Tourism, Agriculture and Lifestyle.
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