Virgin Atlantic is a relatively small international airline, that is neither supported by a national government nor part of a larger group of carriers.
For most of its history the airline had relied on the UK as a strong home market. But by 2010 it needed to ensure that it was competing across the global network of destinations that its planes flew to.
Working with a number of UK and international agencies, Virgin Atlantic invested in a campaign based on the message that "Your airline's either got it or it hasn't" to align the brand with values such as glamour, fun and comfort. This message was interpreted for different media formats such as TV, online and press and rolled out to 13 markets, with particular emphasis on the US, UK and Australia.
Changes in perception of the brand were then tracked in comparison to an earlier, award-winning campaign ("Still Red Hot") and to the brands of 23 other airlines.
These brand impacts were then correlated to the sales performance of the airline and the potential impact of other non-advertising factors such as seasonality, changes in pricing or distribution, were also considered and discounted.
The full results of the campaign are explained in a detailed case study that won a Gold award in the renowned Effectiveness Awards run by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, the UK industry body for advertising agencies.
However, the headline figures are that this first global campaign for a Virgin brand outperformed previous campaigns in the UK, and delivered significant growth across the rest of the world.
The global return on marketing investment from the campaign was estimated at £15.66 per £1 spent.
The authors of the case study write that: "We took learning gathered over many years on how communications worked in the UK and applied it to other markets around the world, while at the same time finding a universal truth that made the campaign relevant to each local market.
"It's also an example of capitalising on the scale of production that a global budget affords, to help give the brand stature and stand out in markets where it's still relatively small.
And ultimately it's an illustration of how global communications can deliver business results to help drive a longer term strategy."
Link to full case study