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Virgin Mobile continues pioneering marketing via music


Virgin Mobile continues pioneering marketing via music


Last month, Marketing mag reported on the apparent success of Wrigley’s sponsorship of the YouTube live streaming of Coachella Music and Arts Festival in America. Virgin Mobile will be hoping they can replicate some of the buzz 5 Gum experienced with the Australian music festival Splendour in the Grass, announcing they will again sponsor a YouTube live stream of the event.

Virgin Mobile will also offer some ‘VIP benefits’ for its customers who don’t want to deal with all the dirty grit and stress that often accompanies the festival experience. It’s the simple things that work best, and customers will get access to more frequently cleaned toilets (nicknamed ‘the posh pit’), an express bar queue, and a meal ticket for every day.

It’s certainly not a new concept for Virgin Mobile, but they are certainly still the market leader for music–based promotions appealing to Generation Y. Virgin Mobile spokesperson Amber Morris tells Marketing magazine it’s all about the fit.

“When you think of the Virgin brand, music is our DNA, it’s the shiniest jewel in the crown,” she says. “We’ve got more relevance than any other telco to be in the music space, so people expect it off us. And the engagement is really high.”

Virgin Mobile are all over the music scene in Australia, sponsoring Splendour last year and again this year, the St Jeromes Laneway Festival, and even taking the uncommon step of sponsoring a music venue full time, re–branding Sydney's Metro Theatre to the Virgin Mobile Metro.

“The focus for us is the live streaming,” Morris explains. “It has been massively successful. Something like 100, 000 viewers went back and looked at our footage of the Laneway Festival. It’s something no one else is doing in Australia.”

Virgin Mobile beams the coverage through its official YouTube channel, it also provides presenters, while YouTube sends in the video crew. Morris says Virgin Mobile’s music sponsorship will remain a pillar of the brand’s marketing activity and doesn’t necessarily have to connect with sales straight away.

“I’m not even sure if we have a link to the product (on the YouTube page),” she says. “The promotion is about providing what people want. It’s an awareness campaign, but we’re not just throwing our logo on something, it’s a full branding exercise that tries to make the experience better for people. The things people really appreciate at the festival are the clean toilets and shorter bar queues. And the people who aren’t there don’t have to miss out, thanks to the live stream, so it’s all about making the overall experience better.

“Virgin Mobile has been associated with the V Festival in the UK for something like 11 years. In Canada and the United States too, festivals are definitely something that works well.  So we’ve got a lot of years of experience doing this.”

The V Festival in Australia hasn’t seen the light of day for a while, however, it was put on ice back in 2009, despite Richard Branson’s commitment to the festival as long term marketing investment.

"We've now gotten bigger this year,” Branson said in 2008, “we're going to lose an even bigger packet, but everyone's going to have a great time. In a number of years I suspect we'll break even and maybe make a bit of money, but it's a really good thing for Virgin to do."

Morris says the festival should still eventually return.

“It’s actually run through Virgin Management, and Virgin Mobile are the sponsor,” Morris explains. “Virgin management is the umbrella for all of the Virgin businesses. As far as I know they are still looking in to it, it has just been a hold for a couple of years.” 

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