Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson acted swiftly to condemn the ad as 'ill-judged' despite not owning the brand in the US. Having spoken to Virgin Mobile US, he stated in a blog post that 'a dreadful mistake was made' and the ad was removed.
HOW I SEE IT
Nik Done, co-founder, Unity
It's been a bit of a week for tasteless jokes gone wrong. It's always tricky with brands such as Virgin to stay on the right side of 'edge', but this clearly steps over the line. I can just imagine the awkward conversations happening Stateside right now.
As always, Richard Branson didn't hang about in providing a reaction, using Twitter to express his displeasure (which was appropriate given this is where the backlash began). He's known for following his gut and in this instance it served him well. He wouldn't have needed PR advice on what to do next.
He made his opinions known, separated the UK brand from the 'licensed' brand in the States, and used it as an opportunity to show everyone what is at his moral core.
His swiftness meant that the media featured his retort and the matter was put to bed quickly.