Dear Virgin Money

Dear Virgin Money,

Thank you for giving me a bit of a brand dilemma…

On the one hand, I really admire your parent brand’s “simple aim of making things better”…40 years of championing the consumer, audacious PR stunts and zagging whilst the established brand leviathans zig…

All highly admirable. And I hope you do shake the banking industry up a bit.

As a consumer, I’m a big fan of Virgin Atlantic in particular…as a brand consultant, Virgin has provided ample material for the eternal debate about brand architecture and brand equity vs brand stretch…so thanks for that.

But.

And I’m on the other hand now.

With communications like yours, it’s beginning to feel a little bit like your parent brand is plotting to take over the world.

Which I’m not sure is a good thing.

Maybe it’s just because you created a model world (which is somewhat reminiscent of Thomas’ Island of Sodor as it happens) for your ad and populated it with your brand.

It doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to picture Sir Richard sitting on his island, playing with a similar model of the world, nefariously laughing, Bond-baddy stylee, as he plots to develop an infrastructure so extensive that governments all over the world end up handing over legislative powers to the Virgin brand…

Now of course this won’t happen, and I don’t believe for a second that Richard Branson has any such aspirations (being an apparently fundamentally decent bloke), but the idea of it makes me laugh.

In banking, inertia is going to be your biggest problem. Which means you’re going to have to work a hell of a lot harder than taking a retrospective view of the good stuff your parent brand has done in the past to shake things up. Got a feeling you’ll manage it though.

Thanks again,

Ned

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