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The challenge

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Virgin was approaching their tender process to find new spirits to work with across the board. Aviation was keen to showcase its product on a new and exciting platform.

Enter Ink; we already had an established relationship with Aviation Gin and had previously brought its product to Virgin’s inflight entertainment magazine, its IFE, and a pop-up within the airline’s clubhouse. We recognised the potential to turn a regular advertiser into a long-term airline partner.

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The launch

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We wanted to facilitate a collaboration that would not only fit naturally with the Virgin Atlantic brand but would also stimulate increased revenue and brand awareness for both parties.

Ink was able to secure Aviation an invitation to participate in the tender for onboard gin. Instead of it being just about a unit price to win the tender, we included a marketing spend that each brand had to put forward. The overall proposition was considered rather than just the traditional commercial deal.

Aviation Gin was successful in the bid and committed a spend across multiple assets. We then put into action innovative strategies to connect Aviation with Virgin Atlantic’s passengers.

Ink delivered the on-brand partnership by coordinating co-branded press releases; the aforementioned tongue-in-cheek viral video with Branson and Reynolds; pop-up events in Virgin’s international clubhouses; participation in London Cocktail Week; and a cover story in our own Vera magazine, starring Ryan Reynolds. We even had Ryan serving cocktails to some very lucky passengers aboard one flight.

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The results

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Aviation Gin, Sir Richard Branson, Ryan Reynolds and Virgin Atlantic all promoted the activation on their social feeds. The video went viral, generating a whopping 1.5 billion impressions, and the uptake in the story far surpassed both brands’ expectations.

Aviation Gin was able to offer Virgin Atlantic’s passengers a sophisticated inflight tipple, Virgin’s valued passengers were able to enjoy a host of exciting promotional events, and both firms enjoyed a global boost in brand awareness from the partnership. Win, win!

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“Working with Ryan and his team on this partnership has been so exciting. Aviation Gin is a true icon born out of a spirit of innovation, so serving it on board Virgin Atlantic flights seemed like a natural combination.”

Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic

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“For Aviation to be chosen as the gin of choice for such an iconic and quintessentially British brand is a complete honour. We look forward to serving Virgin Atlantic guests for years to come and, on a personal note, Sir Richard has promised to teach me the difference between revenue and profit, so I am beyond excited.”

Ryan Reynolds, owner of Aviation Gin

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