Virgin America ad campaign takes on BLAH Airlines, complete with 6 hour video ad, fake credit cards

Virgin America released a creative new advertising campaign today. Centered around the fictitious BLAH Airlines, the ad campaign showcases just how boring flying on other airlines can be compared to Virgin America.

The craziest part of this campaign is a 5 hour, 46 minute video that simulates what it’s like to fly from Newark to San Francisco. Yes, that is not a typo, the ad is 5 hours, 46 minutes. If you have some time to kill, you can find it in its entirety below. If you don’t have the rest of the day free, you might want to click through randomly to watch some highlights, which include mannequins doing all the little boring and annoying things that happen on a flight that lasts that long.

This is a really clever ad, and it’s a nice way for Virgin to start the conversation about how they differ from other airlines. Having recently been on a USAirways flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco that had zero in-flight entertainment, I certainly know how excruciating a transcontinental flight can be at its worst.

Adweek interviewed Bryan Houlette, creative director on the Virgin America account at Eleven, the agency who came up with the BLAH campaign. Here’s an excerpt:

Adweek: Where did the inspiration for this idea come from?

Bryan Houlette: Today, most of the options for flying—besides Virgin America—are pretty bland, lack personality and rarely have the latest in amenities. Yet people fly them because they’re tied to mileage programs and feel like they have to. It’s almost like they’re traveling on autopilot—without realizing they don’t have to get on that boring flight.
We wanted to recreate the feeling of what it’s like to fly on autopilot and then remind people there’s a better way to fly. So we created a film that shows what’s it like when you’re on a “blah” flight, from takeoff to landing. We called it BLAH Airlines flight 101, and we made it the length of an actual cross-country flight.

There’s even a website for BLAH Airlines that you can check out at http://www.blahairlines.com/. They really went all out, creating not only a full site, but social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well.

One of my favorite parts of the site: the fake BLAH Airlines credit cards, which poke fun of all of the airline credit cards out there (of course, Virgin America has their own card).

blah airlines credit card

Earn 1 BLAH Airlines mile for every $75 you spend on drywall, gravel, and paste!

The FAQs are also inspired, featuring such questions and answers as, “Q: WHERE DO YOU FLY? A: BLAH Airlines flies to a variety of places with airports.”

While Virgin America’s has faced a tough environment as they try to grow, they’re certainly winning the advertising game with this campaign.

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