Forget everything you’ve seen when it comes to Virgin Australia.
Because the airline has ditched its traditional approach of featuring young, attractive air host crew in exchange for a … well, toupee called “Wiggy”.
After conducting research on their brand, results showed the airline was in desperate need of re-emphasising their personality and customer experience with consumers. In turn, it meant Virgin pivoting away from centring campaigns around its flight attendants and focusing on a lighthearted narrative.
The new ad follows a cute flying toupee as it makes its way across different parts of Australia before arriving at the airport. Essentially, the campaign shows that air travel is for everyone – including a wig that’s been swept off its owner’s head.
Speaking to the Australian Financial Review, Virgin chief experience officer Danielle Keighery said she hoped the “crazy” new campaign – which follows the airborne journey of a hairpiece after it gets blown off its owner’s head before settling back on its owner’s head outside the Virgin Australia terminal – would resonate with customers.
“This is all about creating that concept of feel-good flying, which is where Wiggy comes into it,” she said, noting the campaign further entrenches Virgin’s brand as an airline for everyone.
“It does seem a bit crazy. And when they presented it to me at first, I was a bit like, ‘Are you serious? A wig flying through the air?’ But actually, that was the humorous side of it.”
The major campaign, which was created by DDB Sydney, has been dubbed “Up, Up and Toupee”.
In the short film, a gust of wind lifts Wiggy off a man’s head before it heads off on an adventure past office buildings, along the coastline, into the clouds with a flock of geese and finally arriving back on its owner’s head at the airport – all to the soundtrack of Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes’ Up Where We Belong.
Virgin Australia general manager of brand and marketing, Michael Nearhos, told Mumbrella the new advertisement was supposed to be a fun take on travel.
“We know our Virgin personality is so widely loved, and we are so proud to hero this through our new brand campaign,” he said.
“Our focus from a customer experience perspective is always on how our famous service and product make people feel, and it’s really important to us to emphasise this in our new brand positioning.”
The new advertisement, which was launched on Sunday, has already struck a chord on social media.
“That’s more like the Virgin we know and love!” one person said of the film.
In August, Australia’s second biggest carrier announced it would review every single flight route on its network, as well as cut 750 jobs, as part of a drastic restructure to claw back a full-year loss of $349.1 million.
Earlier this month, Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah announced the airline would retire five ageing aircraft and reduce domestic capacity by 2 per cent in the first half of next year as it focused on more profitable routes.
The Australian airline also said it would suspend its Melbourne to Hong Kong flight – which has underperformed with recent protests in the former British colony – from February 11 and redirect the A330-200 aircraft on a new route between Brisbane to Tokyo.
The massive restructure of employees is set to save the airline $75 million by the end of the 2020 financial year. And when every cent counts, it’s a wonder the airline didn’t undergo a similar restructure after its third, fourth or even fifth year of annual losses.