Project focus: rebranding Virgin Atlantic

One challenging rebrand johnson banks has tackled is Virgin Atlantic. Firstly, it’s unusual for a company that already has a strong brand to approach the studio. The brief also had an interesting technical aspect to it – find a way to paint the aircraft in the fleet that uses less paint. When planes have up to nine coats of paint on them, the added weight does result in significant amounts of extra fuel being used over the lifetime of the aircraft.

“People didn’t really have a problem with the Virgin brand or the Virgin Atlantic brand,” says Michael Johnson. “So we came in, and we were working with an organisation who we were doing strategic research. We did the visual audit, and we were shocked, actually. We said, ‘Gosh, you’re all over the place, aren’t you?’”

As johnson banks audited Virgin Atlantic’s brand a number of inconsistencies arose. The planes had three different styles of livery, messaging varied from glamour and luxury to crude jokes, and various logo schemes had been adopted and ditched. In many cases, the airline’s message was its own, but in some instances the tone of voice veered towards British Airways, and in others towards easyJet.

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