Eleven Gets Strange, Creepy in Marathon Effort for Virgin America

By Erik Oster 

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?”

Credits:

Client: Virgin America
Agency: Eleven Inc.
Chief Creative Officer: Mike McKay
Creative Director: Bryan Houlette
Senior Art Directors: Sarah Worthington, Bryan Houlette
Senior Copywriter: Aryan Aminzadeh
Copywriters: Jon Korn, Kevin X. Barth
Head of Integrated Production, Executive Producer: Anastacia Maggioncalda
Producer, Live Action: Lindsey Wood
Producers, Digital/Social: Michael Phillips, Amanda Punzalan
Activation Strategy Director: Fiona Su
Director of Social Media: Maura Tuohy
Director of Client Services: Rob Garnett
Account Management Supervisor: Lily Byrne
Account Manager: Meghan Kemp
Director: Shillick
Print Photography: JUCO
Print Post: DMAX
Executive Producer: Josh Ferrazzano
Producer: Bo Clancey
Directort of Photography: Peter Thompson
Video Postproduction, Sound Design: World War Seven
Editor: Kevin X. Barth
Visual Effects Artist: Sean Pfeiffer
Additional Visual Effects: Sean Addo
Colorist: Robert Crosby
Additional Editing: Penny Krueger, Nick Brown
Additional Sound Mixing: Matt Wood

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