Virgin Holidays – Tunnel to Barbados

Virgin Holidays came to us to create a disruptive, engaging experiential PR stunt to raise awareness of its
direct holidays from Manchester to Barbados.

So we brought Barbados to Manchester for the day.  With a little added glamour from Michelle Keegan.

The world’s first 4D tunnel – complete with sounds and smells of the Caribbean brought Spinningfields
alive for one sunny day back in June.

Over 400 million opportunities to see were the result.


  • Generate awareness of Virgin Holiday’s package holidays and direct flights from Manchester to Barbados
  • Create an event that would build exposure across all media channels
  • Enable Virgin Holidays retail staff to capture sales leads on the ground
  • Capture the essence of the Virgin brand – something brave with a touch of glamour!

Strategy & Plan

Bring the sights, sounds and smells of Barbados directly to Manchester in an unforgettable manner!
Grab media interest with a strong hook – a world first –  and utilise a newsworthy, relevant celebrity.

We commissioned a leading international 3D artist to create an illusory ‘tunnel’ which appeared overnight
seemingly going to Barbados – which would be located in Spinningfields, Manchester – to take advantage
of the great footfall and on-target demographic

Ex Coronation Street star Michelle Keegan was recruited to appear ‘inside’ the illusion – adding to media
interest and underlining the ‘Manchester’ key message – this was to be her first corporate appearance since
leaving the show adding to media interest

The public were invited to interact with the illusion, picture sharing was facilitated on site using screens and
backed up via a social media gallery, enabling further reach of the stunt, viral spread and also to enable data capture for sales leads

Virgin Holiday retail offers were supported via the event, with branded sun glasses and water bottles being
given away to help drive sharing of the event hash tag #MCRTunneltoBarbados

Virgin Holidays retail staff were on site to secure sales leads from the public

Measurement & Evaluation

We measured the success of this campaign of number of media hits and opportunities to see vs KPIs,
key message penetration, social media impressions, retweets and sentiment of posts.


  • 19 quality media hits  including the mailonline, OK!, Hello!, The Mirror, Daily Star and two hits in the Manchester Evening News
  • Opportunities to see – 442,386,461
  • Additional marketing support provided by Spinningfields – teaser copy was included in the week’s newsletter the day before the stunt – going out to 35,000 local workers and several tweets during the day drove further excitement
  • Trending on Twitter in Manchester at lunchtime #MCRTunneltoBarbados aimed at driving footfall
  • 100% positive sentiment of posts
  • Over 6 million impressions
  • 222 RT’s
  • Five tweets by Michelle Keegan
  • Tweets of support from The Sun (Manchester office) I Love MCR, Manchester Gazette, Manchester Evening News, CityLife, Reveal & Hello!