Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Glamour in the Skies

UK airline Virgin Atlantic has a new television ad is sidesplittingly funny, and underscores the cultural difference between North America and the old country. I can't seem to embed it, so you'll have to go here to watch it and then come back.

It's simply clever. James Bond is of course a British product that has worldwide recognition and the whole ad is reminiscent of the title sequence for a James Bond movie, which by association probably makes it seem racier than it is. The ad takes you through a whole airline trip without breaking stride. I especially love the line of passengers going through the airport scanner on their way to the airstairs. It incorporates the airport experience while eliding most of it.

Maybe someone will complain that the women are presented as sex objects, but they need to look around and see all the people in the ad are sexy, including the men going through the scanner and pole dancing on the shrimp forks. And the women are powerful sexy, almost stomping on the tiny men at the beginning. The strongest "where are they going with this?" moment was the FA opening her jacket to produce the scene change. I love the way the standard flight attendant gestures describing the locations of exits and the floor illumination morph into a dance sequence.

I could probably go nuts watching it for symbols of one sort or another. Almost all the shapes and sets are sexy people or airplanes or parts of airplanes. I see a € Euro sign in the moon, and the Statue of Liberty represents both the USA and France.

And then they poke fun at all that surrealism by actually referring to the flying flight attendants in the final lines. I can't hear the response clearly: it sounds like "She's in my ambulance," but I've been assured that it's, "She's in Miami." I don't know where I get the final sibilant.

Also, I have shoes like that, and I love them, but they aren't really practical for air travel. I empathize with the woman taking them off in the last shot. Tiny details of not taking itself entirely seriously, like that one, may be how this ad manages to dance along the line between sexy and sexist without stepping over.


Jim said...

I'm sure there are all sorts of images in the martini glass as well.

But I'm still looking for the Air Canada safety video to updated to something which is MUCH better than the droning snoozefest they currently use - ANZ comes to mind (in my dreams).

Jeremy said...

Speaking of safety videos and using the gestures towards the emergency exits as part of a dance move, have you seen this?

Cebu Pacific Airlines Dancing Flight attendants

Note: This wasn't an official saftey demonstration, you can see the flight is actually in progress.

Echojuliet said...

turning the preflight briefing into a string of seductive poses is about half the reason my friends and I decided that we could never be flight attendants... Now we can add "breaking into a dance" as another reason!

Rob said...

It's a good advert and whether you like it or not, glamour and sex (or seduction)are linked and this is definitely trying to position Virgin in the glamorous end of the market.

Anonymous said...

Very well done. And especially appropriate coming just days after this.

Cirrocumulus said...

Clever advertising is a national speciality. It's extremely expensive: money they're taking from passengers and not spending on looking after them. So I'd enjoy the ad and choose another airline.

Anonymous said...

Great ad, and I love Virgin!

Victoria said...

Ok, it soooo sounds like she's saying "she's in my ambulance"

Foggy said...


You beat me to it...!

Great commercial; a pity their Gatwick based B744s have very tired looking interior's with no sign of an update any time soon.

And Linda? She's (definitely) in Miami - on my TV, at least.

Kins regards,


Christine Negroni said...

Linda is in Miami.