Virgin Atlantic Picks Indie Agency SwellShark to Run Media

Win adds big name to husband-and-wife shop

Full-service independent media shop SwellShark won U.S. media agency of record duties for Virgin Atlantic after a competitive review managed by U.K.-based ID Comms.

Effective immediately, SwellShark will handle media strategy, planning, buying and analytics duties in promoting "Business Is an Adventure." The ongoing campaign, which is led by Virgin Atlantic's creative agency of record Figliulo&Partners, aims to position Virgin as the airline of choice for business and leisure travelers flying to and from its London home base. The work recently included a very creative use of LinkedIn as a messaging platform.

Virgin's vp of marketing for the Americas Simon Bradley says, "A nimble, creative brand like ours needs an agile, inventive agency like SwellShark behind it," adding, "It was quickly apparent that SwellShark's strategic approach of seizing upon 'moments of influence' would be invaluable in shining a light on our brand and connecting with our target audience."

"It's difficult to overstate how excited and energized we are to be working with such a venerable brand–one that has carved out a well-deserved reputation for innovative and effective advertising," says SwellShark president Mary Perhach. She will lead the business with CEO Nick Pappas managing media strategy. Both will work closely with Figliulo&Partners to promote the campaign.

SwellShark was founded in 2010 by Perhach and Pappas, two media buying and strategy veterans who also happen to be husband and wife. Their client list, which often focuses on makers of premium products, now includes Virgin in addition to Sotheby's International Realty, Hudson Whiskey, Applegate natural meats and Freelance Union, among others.

The agency's key differentiator is a focus on the aforementioned "moments of maximum influence," or ad targeting practices driven by each unique audience's "psychographics and media habits."