Campaign: Virgin Holidays Goes Burlesque
Client: Virgin Holidays
PR team: Launch Group
Timescale: December 2010-January 2011
To develop a big idea that amplified the Virgin Holidays burlesque-themed ad campaign
To communicate Virgin Holidays' January sale message 'we've taken off everything we can'
To drive post-Christmas sales.
Strategy and plan
Launch Group decided to capitalise on a growing burlesque trend, along with the traditional January obsession with health and fitness.
The campaign was launched on the bank holiday Monday after Christmas, with an attempt to break the world record for the biggest burlesque dance.
This featured Virgin Holidays staff 'taking off everything they could' to launch the sale.
Burlesque forums and groups were targeted in the run-up to the record attempt in order to encourage fans to take part too. National and online listings were set up to further drive awareness of the event throughout the Christmas holiday.
The world record attempt was held in Trafalgar Square on 3 January, timed to secure coverage on what would be most people's first day back at work.
The event was an open photocall and a viral video of the campaign was created to secure coverage online after the event.
Launch Group set up tailored burlesque workouts for journalists who were not able to attend the record attempt.
Journalists were invited to dance studios to be taught the art of burlesque by expert Sharon Kay, the founder of London's first burlesque dancing school.
This generated further coverage after the world record event and maximised awareness before the end of the sale.
Measurement and evaluation
The campaign achieved more than 130 pieces of coverage including in six national newspapers. Photographers from the PA, The Sun, Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, Getty and Sky News covered the record attempt.
More than half of the coverage directly referenced the Virgin Holidays January sale or the ad. The majority of coverage included details of how to book a Virgin Holidays January sale holiday and included information on the best deals available.
Launch Group recruited more than 100 burlesque dancers to take part on the day, although the world record attempt was unsuccessful. However, during the January sale period, there was a ten per cent increase in web hits and an 80 per cent increase in traffic to retail stores, compared with the same period the previous year.
Steve Dunne, Executive chairman, Brighter Group
Working with a key message - 'we've taken off everything we can' - against a backdrop of post-festive holiday blues, depressing airport news and a noisy marketplace full of holiday offers, Launch's PR campaign for Virgin Holidays was a classic.
Ingredients such as a striking, colourful picture of people having fun, against an iconic backdrop in Trafalgar Square, was always going to excite the picture desks - particularly when it featured genuine burlesque fans and staff in costume.
Throw in a world record attempt for the biggest burlesque dance and one could see the 'and finally' spots on news bulletins being cued.
The initiative was also natural viral fodder, vital for travel PR campaigns. The number of YouTube hits illustrated that if entertainment is combined with a key message then it creates a sure-fire winner.
The range of coverage that Launch achieved for Virgin Holidays was a tribute to how effective PR can be in driving a commercial message home.