When President Bush asked for more transparency from corporate CEOs, we don't think this is what he had in mind.
In a brash publicity stunt to launch his Virgin Mobile phone service in the US, Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson descended on Times Square last week via crane, donning little more than a strategically placed cell phone.
At 10:30am on July 24, the infamous intersection was infiltrated by young women and men in red Spandex bodysuits (think Olympic speed skaters) who bounced and danced around confused tourists while shaking their Virgin phone-emblazoned bottoms (one on each cheek).
The uniformed cast of the Broadway show The Full Monty sang Let It Go from a scaffold atop the Virgin store marquee as they stripped down to flesh colored G-strings with cell phones over their nether regions.
Meanwhile, Branson joined in on the choreography, as he was lowered on an enormous phone, flexing and flashing his familiar grin, epitomizing Virgin's motto, "We have nothing to hide."
One blushing reporter even noted, "Wow, he looks good, as the muscular Branson waved and flashed peace signs from above, but alas, the muscles were courtesy of another stroke of brilliant costuming.
The red people (as well as a few tourists) laughed and pointed, dancing along with the music, which ended in a big bang from two confetti cannons that littered the air with red and white pieces of paper.
Following the stunt, reporters shuffled to the back of the store, where Branson, Virgin CEO Dan Schulman, and MTV Networks chairman and CEO Tom Freston announced their strategic partnership regarding the introduction of teen-targeted phones to the US market.
Branson said, "There's nothing sexy about a mobile phone now. We want to change that."
He also laughed about his performance saying, "When I found out I would be doing this, I worked out, lost a stone, and they still made me wear a bodysuit."
So much for transparency.