Ad of the Day: Virgin

The company's three airlines team up to shoot a short film at 35,000 feet

Branded entertainment often falls at the starting line for lack of a buzz-worthy hook—but Virgin seems to have a winner, in terms of publicity if not actual content, in making the first short film shot at 35,000 feet.

The film, Departure Date, a joint production of Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, San Francisco ad agency Eleven, and Virgin Produced (the entertainment arm of the Virgin Group), premieres Monday night at the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival. Check out the trailer and some behind-the-scenes footage in the video below. Mad Men fans will be excited to see Ben Feldman—aka Michael Ginsberg, copywriter of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce—in a leading role here, alongside the young Australian actress Nicky Whelan and some familiar faces like Philip Baker Hall, Luis Guzmán, Janeane Garofalo and Max Brown. The film itself, to be frank, looks exceedingly average, centered on a love story between Feldman and Whelan that isn't—or more likely, in the end, is—meant to be. "What if life handed you exactly what you wanted, and then took it all away?" says the voiceover—which doesn't exactly scream independent film.

Still, it's a fun idea—a $1 million experiment that Virgin, always a marketing pioneer, was happy to gamble on. Directed by Kat Coiro (who also shot the the feature film L!fe Happens), the film was shot in May over nine days and three continents during flights from Los Angeles to London, Dallas, Fort Worth and Sydney, Australia. It promotes Virgin's service from Los Angeles and will be featured as in-flight entertainment on Virgin flights. The company is also hoping to get it aired on TV, too.


Client: Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia

Creative Credits: "Virgin Skies" Campaign

Agency: Eleven Inc., San Francisco


Chief Creative Officer: Mike McKay, Eleven

Executive Creative Director: Rob Price, Eleven

Creative Consultant: Paul Stechschulte

ACD Copywriter: Jay Rendon, Eleven

ACD Designer: Sami Saaud, Ted Bluey, Eleven

Copywriter: Joanne Torres, Ross Cavin, Eleven

Art Director: Brenden Yezbak, Chris Adams, Matthew Wakeman, Eleven

Executive Producer: Anastacia Maggioncalda, Eleven

Executive Interactive Producer: Daniel Murphy, Eleven

Senior Interactive Producer: Jeff Macke, Eleven

Interactive Producer: Justine Stein, Eleven

Web Developer: Jake Bellacera

Flash Developer: Hook

Interactive Designer: Brenden Yezbak, Eleven

Account Director: Rob Garnett, Eleven

Account Supervisor: Christine Cheng, Eleven

Account Manager: Tina Arguelles, Eleven



Jason Felts, Virgin Produced

Justin Berfield, Virgin Produced

Rene Rigal, Virgin Produced


Simon Bradley, Virgin Atlantic

Cat Huettner, Virgin Australia

Dimitrios Papadogonas, Virgin America


Huntley Ritter, Virgin Produced

Jessica Stout, Virgin America


Carolyn Anderson, Virgin Produced

Brian Skuletich, Virgin Produced

Laura E. Kilroy, Virgin Atlantic

Naia Cucukov, Virgin Produced


Ted Bluey, Eleven

Anastacia Maggioncalda, Eleven


CAST: (In order of Billing)

Ben Feldman

Nicky Whelan

Philip Baker Hall

Luis Guzman

Janeane Garofalo

Max Brown

Eve Brenner

Elaine Tam

Tarina Pouncy


Writer: Kat Coiro

Director: Kat Coiro

Cinematographer:  Doug Chamberlain

Location Sound Engineer: Kevin Bellante

1st Assitant Camera/DIT: Phil Newman

EPK Director/Operator: Zach Osterhout

Wardrobe: Stacy Lauwers

Hair/Makeup: Jennifer Shelton

Editor: Scott Chestnut