ready for takeoff

Virgin America Updates its UX With 100% More Cartoon Butts

Posted by Caitlin Barrett on June 20, 2014 10:15 AM

Virgin America took flight in 2007 with strong ties to the sexy, challenger branding associated with most of Sir Richard Branson’s brainchildren. From its first flight, it stood out from other U.S. airlines for its better-than-average treatment of guests and its innovative flight experience (mood music, moodier lighting, AND the least misplaced bags last year create happy customers, it seems). 

So why does a brand on top need to rethink its UX when, really, things are going well for the business? Virgin America saw room for improvement from its (now-old) dot com experience—and saw a chance to set the big goal of increasing online bookings. So the brand chucked the idea of using virginamerica.com as a marketing tool; instead, it’s now optimized to make the booking process a breeze (thereby increasing online bookings). It may be ahead of its time, but Virgin America was willing to move early so that when customers are ready to book on their phones, they’ll be ready at the gate. 

But enough about the strategy—the new look and feel pushes the brand’s tone into a liveliness and creativity that strays from the brand’s sultrier side.Continue reading...

up and away

The Final Frontier: Musk, Branson and Brands Engage in the New Space Race

Posted by Dale Buss on May 30, 2014 05:16 PM

Kennedy and Khruschev have given way to Musk and Branson in the Space Race, with the next significant spacecraft set to be branded as SpaceX or Virgin, not with the ponderous logos of global superpowers.

That’s what the 21st Century has come to, as the once-urgent geopolitical, military and scientific attractions of manned space flight have given way to personal entertainments and branding exercises. Musk/SpaceX and Branson/Virgin both made shows of their latest space travel promises this week.

Musk already has promised to begin taking tourists on SpaceX aircraft into space beginning next year, notable among them a group of “astronauts” who were selected and are being “trained” under a long-running space-themed marketing promotion by Unilever’s Axe and Lynx body-spray brands.

But this week Musk unveiled a cone-shaped spaceship that he hopes one day will ferry NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, return to earth and set down like a helicopter, then refuel and take off again—perhaps even the same day. Before a crowd of journalists and SpaceX employees at the company’s California headquarters, according to the Los Angeles Times, Musk revealed a white capsule, dubbed Dragon V2, that is designed to fit seven flyers at a time.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Barclays, FedEx, McDonald's and more

Posted by Dale Buss on May 8, 2014 09:11 AM

TOP 5 STORIES

Brands to Watch

Barclays slashes 19,000 jobs and reins in Wall Street ambitions.

FedEx jolts e-commerce with charging by package size.

McDonald's same-store sales rise in China as company braces for global strike.

Tesla plans to break ground on gigafactory but disappoints with quarterly performance.

Toyota sees earnings hit by US recall settlement while performing well overall.

TOP 5 STORIES

Abercrombie & Fitch and Old Navy try to sell their brands in China.

Costco steps up presence in beauty trade.

DirecTV weighs possible deal with AT&T.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News You Can Use: Amazon, Ford, PayPal and more

Posted by Dale Buss on May 1, 2014 09:33 AM

TOP STORIES

Brands to Watch

Amazon expands same-day delivery.

AOL launches 16 web series.

AT&T is reportedly pondering acquiring DirecTV.

eBay reveals PayPal's simpler logo, 1st global brand campaign.

Energizer announces plan to split in two.

Facebook launches mobile ad network and privacy features.

Ford names a new CEO, Mark Fields, to replace retiring Alan Mulally.

Foursquare breaks into two, promotes "discovery" over check-ins.

Microsoft splits global ad business.

Below, news on brand innovation, culture, and more:Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Facebook, Taco Bell, Target and more

Posted by Dale Buss on March 6, 2014 09:25 AM

In the News

Facebook cracks down on illegal-gun posts.

Taco Bell and Kraft expand grocery deal with new items.

Target CIO and VP of technology services resigns in wake of data breach debacle. 

Walmart plans to unveil "tethering" strategy soon as pressure mounts to reject genetically-modified salmon. 

Apple sees judge deny request to ban Samsung products as it plans to bring full-screen video iAds to mobile. 

BP finds way to bypass US oil-export ban.

Bitcoin may require human oversight, as chief of an exchange for the digital currency is found dead in Singapore.

Bob Evans Farms looks to bounce back from tough winter as its "barbell" strategy lifts sales.

Business Insider sees further investment from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.Continue reading...

traveling brands

In Prep for IPO, Virgin America Innovates with In-Flight Social Network

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 12, 2014 01:47 PM

Virgin’s tech team and customer-relations crew must be working overtime this week. Over in the UK, Virgin Atlantic announced it is testing a wearable tech program with its airline concierge staff to better serve upper-class customers, and now the airline's US arm has partnered with Here On Biz on an in-flight social network based off of LinkedIn.

The venture, which focuses on business travelers, allows passengers on Virgin America flights to connect with other passengers on the plane and on the ground. 

"This partnership allows flyers to take advantage of those serendipitous travel moments where people with complementary business interests are in the same place at the same time—even if that place is on a plane somewhere 35,000 feet above the US," said Here On Biz CEO Nick Smoot, according to The Verge. "With our iOS app and this partnership with Virgin America, you can find your next big connection in seat 4C—or even just a row away from you."

The service, which passengers need to opt into, will launch next week on one plane based in San Francisco and expand to all Virgin America flights by month’s end, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.Continue reading...

green shoots

Branson Launches Collective Effort to Convert Caribbean to Renewable Energy

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 10, 2014 07:41 PM

Sir Richard Branson plans to turn his love affair with the Caribbean into an uber-plan to help other tropical destinations generate power from wind and solar energy instead of diesel. 

With plans to use his two personal islands as examples of how it can be done, Branson, the founder and CEO of Virgin, hosted 12 governments and five prime ministers, along with bankers and investors on Necker (or "Island Zero") and Moskito island to hear plans of how to "green" the Caribbean one island at a time. Necker and Moskito will be 75 to 80 percent converted to renewable energy as working models for the other islands, and expertise from US energy think tank the Rocky Mountain Institute and Branson's green business group, Carbon War Room, will provide assistance and the blueprint.

So far, Branson's "Ten Island Challenge," a friendly competition to see which island can scale clean technology fastest has gained the commitments of eight countries: St. Lucia, the British Virgin Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Turks & Caicos, Dominica, Columbia for the islands of Providencia and San Andres, and Aruba. In addition to the country-based improvement projects, other, more specific projects will be supported by private-sector loans from the US government of up to $250 million.Continue reading...

traveling brands

Delta's New Safety Video is Totally Tubular

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 30, 2014 11:41 AM

The latest airline industry trend isn't fees, fees, fees (well, maybe). Instead, airliners are letting their creative juices flow in what has become a stream of high-energy, entertaining in-flight safety videos.

Following a Glee-inspired dance number from Virgin and appearance by Richard Simmons on Air New Zealand, Delta has released a time traveling follow-up to its holiday-themed jaunt. 

Alf and Teddy Ruxpin make appearances along with a number of other ‘80s references. When electronic items are required to be turned off, a man puts his Atari console under his seat. Rubik’s cube, a Devo hat, lots of big hair, cassette tapes, and a worm-dancing passenger get screen time in this ode to a lost era. The kicker, of course, comes at the end when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is seen in the cockpit, a reference to his stellar acting work in the 1980 comedy Airplane!Continue reading...

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