Is Virgin missing out?

Nobody can serve you better than Virgin.

Nobody can serve you better than Virgin.

The mobile co’s fall campaign, by Toronto-based Zig, aims to cement its positioning as the country’s service leader. ‘For us, it’s about staking claim as the customer service champion in this market,’ explains Nathan Rosenberg, CMO at Toronto-based Virgin Mobile Canada, adding that the broad target is 18-34, with mid-twentysomethings the sweet spot. ‘We’re ahead of expectations – we’re certainly tracking very well.’

Two 30-second TV spots illustrate the potential hazards of dealing with other mobile carriers. For example, one spot features a twentysomething guy trying to deal with an automated customer service phone call.

The campaign also includes OOH, print and packaging efforts, and is running throughout the fall.

We asked Frank Palmer, chairman/CEO of Vancouver-based DDB Canada, and Paulette Arsenault, partner/CCO at Montreal-based PALM Arnold, to weigh in on whether Virgin misses out or scores big with this campaign.


FP: The title, ‘Are you missing out?’ is well-named as there was a ‘missed opportunity’ to create something worthwhile for such a cachet brand. It’s obvious to me that Sir Richard probably never saw or approved it. All the creative people I know would kill to work with a client like Virgin.

PA: Overall, I like this campaign. It is clear, friendly, human. But it feels less edgy than [Virgin's] previous campaigns. Less irreverent, less Virgin. They must be trying to appeal to a larger crowd, I presume.


FP: It really scares me. I first saw the bus shelters and I truly wondered what the message was. I realize that I’m getting older but I just don’t get the cut and paste graphics. The Virgin Mobile brand is hip and youthful and the outdoor doesn’t cut it for me.

PA: When I first saw the red icons, I was attracted to them. The handwritten signature is very informal, human, almost buddy-buddy. Good choice of colour and font. Stands out from the rest of the pack. Good but a little dry, no humour.


FP: This is making the best use of the visuals for me.

It captures your attention and makes you want to know more. It capitalizes on using the colour red as it strongly represents Virgin.

PA: The red silhouette with its arms spread open across the double page spread conveys very effectively that Virgin Mobile has humans waiting for your call throughout the country. Simple and clear.


FP: The packaging for me nailed it. Simple and direct. I get it.

PA: Good, clean, inexpensive-looking, un-corporate. Perfect for Virgin.


FP: It’s not badly done, but the premise should have been directed to the terrible service you get from phoning a credit card company, bank or airline. I don’t remember the last time I was put on hold by a mobile phone carrier. There is a smile in the commercials but if they meant to be funny they missed the target.

PA: Sure to hit a sensitive spot with competitors’ dissatisfied customers. Spots are clear and well-produced in both languages, I don’t feel the ‘translation.’ Once more, good but not hilarious or irreverent like before. Has Virgin Mobile

been tamed?

The creds

Client – Virgin Mobile Canada

Nathan Rosenberg, CMO; Andrew Bridge, director, brand; Jason McPhail, manager, brand

Ad agency – Zig

Martin Beauvais, CD; Michael Murray, copywriter; Jason Hill, AD; Michelle Donnelly, Genevieve Beharry, designers; Dave Medlock, agency producer

Media strategist – Wills and Co.

Jeff Wills, president