Virgin Atlantic to Crispin

ATLANTA Virgin Atlantic Airways has awarded Crispin Porter + Bogusky its $12-15 million account, the agency said.

The Maxxcom shop was tapped before the conclusion of a review that included five other contenders.

“It was love at first sight,” said John Riordan, vp, marketing for the airline. “As soon as we left the CP+B office we knew they were right for us.”

That knowledge followed a credentials presentation in late April at the Miami-based agency that ecd Alex Bogusky described as more of a conversation. “They are not afraid to combine advertising and press or use it to leverage press. That’s what we believe in. We thought they were probably kindred spirits, but we just hoped to get to the next round,” he said.

Final presentations never took place. Instead, Riordan last week called agency president Jeff Hicks and offered him the account. This morning, agency staffers arrived to find Virgin Atlantic gift bags on their desks. A conference call from the British airline followed.

“They talked about the spirit of the agency,” said Bogusky. “That innovation was a part of everything we do and that’s important to them. It’s a part of everything they do.” Bogusky declined to say when the agency’s first campaign for the client is expected. The team travels next to London.

The other agencies initially in contention were Interpublic Group’s The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., and Mullen in Wenham, Mass.; and Omnicom shops Merkley Newman Harty & Partners and TBWA\Chiat\Day, both in New York. Berlin Cameron/Red Cell, a WPP Group shop in New York, withdrew last month.

Virgin Atlantic flies to 22 destinations on five continents, including service to London from nine U.S. cities: Boston, New York (JFK), Newark, Washington D.C. (Dulles), Miami, Orlando, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles.