Finding our Virginity: How fighting fact with feeling helped Virgin Media take on the might of Sky

IPA Effectiveness Awards Case Study 2018

Despite having a smaller budget, Virgin Media needed to compete better for TV and broadband customers against category leader, Sky. The role of communications was to ensure Virgin was prominent and worth a premium in consumers’ minds when choosing a supplier. Over two years, TV brand and direct marketing evoked the Virgin masterbrand’s rule-breaking personality to communicate the benefits of fast broadband and seamless technology more emotionally. Brand metrics improved and Virgin grew its share of net new broadband connections from 27.1% to 44.4%. Econometrics calculated that marketing drove £633m of incremental net value, based on the projected net revenues of customer acquisitions over three years.

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Virgin has always been about emotive and disruptive storytelling, because we know that works. It’s in the Virgin DNA. But to get to this point in Virgin Media’s advertising, in a category riddled with competing product superiority claims (sometimes rational, sometimes not) was not quick or easy. In some ways we were playing the category game, and not changing the rules, which is the Virgin way. Sticking to the rational claims was not allowing us to compete as effectively as we needed to, particularly against Sky. We, with great agency support, evolved away from executing rational proposition claims to telling the world some bigger truths, through compelling, emotive and disruptive storytelling that made people feel our superiority. And as we can now prove, the emotional impact helped more people decide to choose Virgin Media.

Bambos Neophytou, Head of Marketing Strategy
Virgin Media

Winners 2018

Silver Winner


Finding our Virginity: How fighting fact with feeling helped Virgin Media take on the might of Sky


Virgin Media


Virgin Media



Principal Authors

  • Ed Kurland - BBH

Contributing Authors

  • Madeleine Young - BBH
  • Thomas Gwin - BBH
  • Bambos Neophytou - Virgin Media
  • Elle Graham-Dixon - BBDO
  • Jonathan Chapman - Virgin Media
  • Stephen Hilton - Annalect
  • Stephanie Butler - Virgin Media

Credited Companies

  • Annalect - Econometrics
  • MG OMD - Media Agency

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