Lonely hearts find comfort at Virgin

Virgin Mobile's current advertising campaign, showing atlas-sized female bodybuilders, has created a headache for its press office.

A welter of lonely hearts looking for muscular comfort has inundated Virgin with phone calls asking for contact details, it claims.

The bodybuilding campaign has been a major PR success for the firm, with the buff women featuring in numerous newspapers and women's magazines - the result of a co-ordinated comms initiative.

In the recent edition of Closer, Karen Spencer - 36-year-old mum-of-two and bikini-wearing star of the ads - tells how she remains a size eight while eating 6,000 calories a day.

Bodybuilding makes Spencer feel 'strong and powerful', she said - and more attractive to men.

'They're charming girls,' insists one Virgin Mobile PRO. 'Evidently there are a lot of people out there who like muscular women.' Although Virgin says it has not given out the girls' numbers, it will not be drawn on whether information was passed the other way.

Inferno puts staff into pole position Staff perks at tech agency Inferno Communications are turning decidedly risque as we enter 2006.

The firm's self-development scheme, which gives staff £100 each to spend on 'self-improvement' activities such as yoga or rowing, is paying for two staff to take up pole dancing. Agency staffers Kim Hollingdale, 26, and Caroline Saunders, 28, are spending their allowance on lessons with poledancing tutors Polepeople. The pair will be twirling and gyrating at Piccadilly Circus's Bar Rumba, just a stone's throw from the fleshpots of Soho.

Inferno MD Grant Currie is unrepentant about this spend. 'It's a form of exercise,' he says, adding: 'We don't pay for their thongs.'

Saunders and Hollingdale's session is for women only. Though male PROs seeking new ways to unwind should note that Polepeople run classes for them too.

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