6 facts about how Virgin Red uses games in its marketing strategy

What do you think of when I say Virgin Group? Perhaps it’s Richard Branson, its iconic founder, smiling. It could be that you’ve been on a Virgin Atlantic flight with the professional and fun airline staff (I have, and I can say it was memorable). 

If it’s one of these examples or another you’ve thought of, it’s very likely that it made you smile, feel good, or had a sense of wonder.  

Recently we got to speak to one of Virgin Red’s fun-loving and talented leaders, Adam Pow, Head of Member Engagement and CRM, about how Virgin’s rewards club uses games in marketing. Here’s what we learned: 

  1. Virgin Red has years of experience with games. They’ve used the Playable gamification platform for the past 1.5 years, and prior to that they were a rewards platform called Virgin Red Vaults.

    All in all, Virgin Red has six years of experience with games and knows how to create a daily engagement habit with their audience. The end result? The team spends valuable time with its audience in-app while showcasing offers and rewards across the Virgin family and beyond.
  2. Virgin Red has a Chief Fun Officer! Within Virgin Red, Virgin Group’s rewards club,one team member – who does the majority of ideating, building and executing games in the Playable platform. She’s known internally as the Chief Fun Officer. 
  1. Engagement, acquisition, and loyalty are the names of the game. Virgin Red uses games in its marketing for acquisition. After a campaign, the team analyzes how many leads were generated from a particular campaign. With engagement as the metric, it looks at how the game competitions are driving daily logins and activity of members in Virgin Red. 
  1. Virgin Red knows that games create a daily engagement habit. Virgin Red has used games for years to create a daily engagement habit with their app and website users. “We knew how to create a daily habit using games. We’re beginning to look at how we can continue to evolve this experience,” explains Pow.  
  1. Games were a core format to get five million eyeballs on a Virgin Voyages campaign with no marketing spend. Virgin Red worked with Virgin Voyages to create games as a hook for marketing emails to create interest in Virgin Voyages from the UK. The audience played a game on the Virgin Red app and when they won, were entered into a random prize draw to win a stay on a Voyages’ cruise. This was a way for Virgin Red to drive sign ups for Virgin Red’s program, and give customers the chance to take advantage of the wealth of rewards within the Virgin family.

  2. Virgin Red used games to fill a ship with paying passengers! Due to Covid-19, Virgin Voyages had to pivot their cruise schedule. Virgin Red facilitated another game that was used to fill a cruise ship with paying passengers at the lowest CPA (cost-per-acquisition) they’ve seen. 

Without question, Virgin has a strong sense of purpose and is known for being visionary with the experiences it provides. Virgin Red knows how to engage and activate its audience with branded experiences. What can you take away from this and apply authentically to your brand.

Virgin Red Customer Story with Playable
“We value that the existing game concepts work so well for us. Also, it’s great that we can reskin the games and make them look really on-brand.”
— Adam Pow, Head of Member Engagement and CRM, Virgin Red, Virgin Red Read the success story