San Francisco agency Eleven has a strange new campaign for Virgin America centered around an extremely long online video.
The ad, entitled “Have you been flying BLAH Airlines?” depicts, in real time, a flight on the imagined rival airline from Newark to San Francisco: a five hour and forty-five minute flight. If that sounds boring, well, that’s the point. It’s also a bit strange and creepy, since the passengers are all mannequins. There are long shots of the mannequins doing absolutely nothing in their cramped seats, punctuated by occasional “action” such as a woman devouring some ribs.
“There’s a very distinct odor coming from somewhere nearby,” says a man on the flight, while the woman goes on and on about the ribs she’s eating. And that’s about as much action you can expect as you (inevitably) skip around. Still, there’s actually a kind of strange charm to the ad and its surreal humor when taken in small doses, and you kind of have to appreciate the great lengths Eleven went to to make its point.
“The passengers have no choice but to be on ‘autopilot’ to get through the tedious journey,” Virgin told Adweek. “Just trying to watch the video is downright painful—and that’s the point. If you wouldn’t sit through the entire film, why would you pay money to experience it in real life?”