Please excuse the sickening sycophancy at the start of this post (actually, throughout the entire post). You may need to have a bucket and tissues on standby.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
There are three brands I would drop everything to go and work for, and (utterly shameless fawning) one of those brands is Virgin.
Virgin, to my mind, are as close to being a flawless brand as I can find. Their founder is highly thought of, and probably one of the most likeable entrepreneurs out there (at a time when those with wealth are generally taking a bit of a hammering).
The brand itself – across all sectors covered – comes across as ethical, and they look after their staff.
They enter new sectors with ease; air travel, mobile phones, cola, finance, TV and broadband, music, health and fitness.
But the main reason I go all gooey over them… is their tone of voice, across all of their marketing, regardless of product/service/sector.
Check this out, in yesterday’s newspapers:
Only Virgin could get away with bringing out a Sex Pistols credit card. Only Virgin could merge finance and something as edgy as punk music.
Nothwithstanding the fact that Richard Branson signed the Sex Pistols to Virgin Records in the 70s, only Virgin – with their fun, frivolous, risque tone of voice – could do credit + punk music.
If Barclays or Natwest tried to do the same, they’d come across as ingratiating or ‘trying to be cool’. They’d look like a dad trying to dance to Skrillex.
Essentially, it’s still just a credit card – you’ll still have to pay it off – but it’s cooler because it’s a Sex Pistols credit card: Virgin Money have made debt likeable.
And the tone of the copy is, as always, perfect: cheeky, effortless, charming. Again, only Virgin could use this tone with financial products and services.
Look at the ‘censored’ sign across the word ‘b*ll*cks’, on the credit card, then check out the last line of the copy; ‘Even if in our ads, we’re still not allowed to say bollo… Oops. Nearly.’
If you want to learn from the ethos, marketing, and tone of voice of a company, you could do a lot worse than taking a look at Virgin and all that they do.
Here endeth the fawning.