Virgin Red rewards club campaign launches with classic hit 99 Red Balloons

Virgin Red social

Virgin’s new rewards club, Virgin Red, has today launched a multimedia campaign centred around an uplifting TV commercial called Whatever Blows Your Bubble. 

The campaign shows that whoever you are and whatever you’re into, life can always be more rewarding.

Whatever Blows Your Bubble was created by the partnership of Glow London and Truant London, and directed by Tash Tung and Blink Productions. 

Virgin Red campaign 

It features a young woman chewing bubble gum while daydreaming about blowing a bubble so big that she could fly.

She then blows a bubble that becomes enormous enough to playfully lift her up into the clouds until she floats above the city, twisting and turning through skyscrapers.

The story, set to a re-record of the 1980s classic 99 Red Balloons, is a jubilant tale of something small becoming something amazing, as an analogy of how Virgin Red gives people a way to turn their everyday purchases into extraordinary rewards.

Tapping into Virgin’s music heritage and the trend for all things 1980s, the uplifting re-record of 99 Red Balloons marks the first time this well-loved song has been recreated for a commercial campaign. 

The team worked with talenthouse producers JOLT, a 36-piece orchestra in Berlin and outstanding vocalist Grace Carter to pay homage to this iconic track.

Targeting Virgin’s 15-million+ customers in the UK, the strategy is based around treating people as members, not customers, by replacing a transactional connection with something more rewarding. 

This includes social films and targeted programmatic banners that highlight the different ways people can live a more rewarding life by embodying the Virgin spirit of trying new things.

The campaign spans TV, BVOD, radio, social and display, and is built around Virgin Red’s array of rewards in a media strategy that was planned and bought through Bountiful Cow.

Virgin Red’s Marketing Director, Linn Frost, said: “Virgin Red embodies the spirit of Virginess with an attitude of grabbing life with both hands. 

“We wanted to create a campaign that delivered on our playful spirit and left people feeling uplifted. We worked on the concept while we were deep in lockdown and the thought of blowing a bubble and floating across the city felt so refreshing. 

“It’s the exact feeling we want our members to have – to embrace and enjoy every moment. We had the bubblegum idea before we found the song. When we brought them together, we knew that was it.”

Big dollop of Virginess

Glow London’s Chief, Emma Harris, said: “We set out to create something joyful, memorable, and with a big dollop of Virginess that the brand is famous for. 

“The Virgin Red team has been an incredible partner on our journey to creating this brave and beautiful campaign.”

Truant London’s ECD, Simon Labbett, commented: “This campaign provided one of those moments when you read a script and think, this would be amazing to make. 

“And one of those moments when you hear a song and think, this would be a privilege to reimagine. 

“These opportunities don’t come around often, but when they do, they remind you how powerful advertising can be. When at its best, it simply makes you fall in love with something.”

Bountiful Cow’s Head of Planning, Ellie Roberts, added: “We’re delighted to work with the Virgin Red team on a product that unites some of the UK’s best-loved brands. 

“This plan is all about passions. Virgin Red enables its users to get the most out of their interests, and through contextual targeting our media shows relevant rewards whilst people are engaging with the things they love. 

“We’re also excited to explore attention as a tradable metric as part of Virgin Red’s display activity, and expect this to feature on more Bountiful Cow plans in the years to come.”