Bringing Barbados to Manchester with Virgin Holidays

Virgin Holidays
Ever wondered what a Caribbean paradise would look like in North West England? So did we, hence the recent stunt we pulled off on behalf of Virgin Holidays.
The travel giant tasked us with promoting its new direct route from Manchester Airport to Bridgetown, Barbados. The brief was simple, create a disruptive, experiential consumer-facing stunt, ideally using a celebrity, and ensure the local population was fully aware of how easy it now is to get to the tropics without leaving their hometown. Intrigued to learn more? Here’s how it went down.

Objectives

*Generate awareness of Virgin Holidays’ new direct flights between Manchester and Barbados *Create an event capable of generating exposure across all media channels *Enable Virgin Holidays retail staff to capture sales leads on the ground *Ensure the essence of the Virgin brand was captured- something brave with a touch of glamour.

Strategy and implementation

In order to meet the client’s requirements we decided to focus on creating an experience that would feel like a world first and be unforgettable. To do this, we began by commissioning a leading international 3D artist to create an illusory ‘tunnel’ that would recreate the feeling of arriving in Barbados.

Thanks to the landscape of the area, Spinningfields provided the ideal location for our ‘tunnel’, with the necessary equipment set up within one of the district’s covered thoroughfares, thus facilitating the use of immersive 360-degree images. In order to add more emphasis to the Manchester focus ex-Coronation Street star Michelle Keegan was drafted in to give the campaign a celebrity face, her first corporate appearance since leaving the soap, helping to drum up additional media interest.

The public was invited to interact with the ‘tunnel’ imagery by sharing pictures on the screen. These were backed up by a social media gallery, promoting the reach and viral spread of the stunt and enabling data capture for the sales leads.

Measurement and evaluation

Our attempts to bring Barbados to central Manchester were successful, with the following hits scored on behalf of Virgin Holidays…

*19 quality media hits (target- 5), including Mail Online (twice), OK! (twice), Hello! online, mirror.co.uk (twice), reveal.co.uk, Manchester Evening News and dailystar.co.uk

#MCRTunneltoBarbados trended on Twitter throughout lunchtime on the day of the stunt

*100% positive post sentiments on social media

*6million+ impressions

*222 re-tweets

*Supporting tweets from The Sun, I Love MCR, Manchester Gazette, Manchester Evening News, CityLife, Reveal, Hello! and several travel trade titles.