The time we crashed the super bowl

Black and white photo of Richard Branson looking into the distance, smiling
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Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 2 February 2020

I look forward to watching the Super Bowl every year. It always reminds me of one of my favourite creative campaigns – the time we crashed the Super Bowl. It was back when we had a Virgin Atlantic airship company in the US and we provided the bird’s eye view pictures from the blimp. However, TV companies were strictly prohibited from showing our blimp – with its prominent Virgin branding – to the massive global audience.

Richard Branson walking away from a "Fly Virgin" blimp which on the ground behind him
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Undeterred, we came up with a cheeky way to get the camera operators’ attention, and get some much–valued screen time. In huge red letters, we wrote “NBC CAMERAMEN ARE THE SEXIEST MEN ALIVE” on the bottom of the blimp. As one would expect, soon the cameras were pointing at our airship as often as they were at the game!

Images of two blimp airships. One says 'Fly Virgin' and is over a field, the next is a close up of one that reads 'NBC Cameramen are the sexist men alive'
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Without using any budget, we managed to get Virgin Atlantic on screen at the biggest sporting event in the world. By thinking about the people implementing the rulebook, rather than the rules themselves, we were able to get around it. Crucially, we were able to put a smile on people’s faces too. 

Fly Virgin blimp over Superbowl stadium
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This year it’s great to see our companies embracing the game. Virgin Trains USA have been hosting volunteers at our Virgin MiamiCentral station, and transporting players, fans and visitors on our trains from downtown Miami to West Palm Beach. Our new cruise ship company, Virgin Voyages, also sponsored two Super Bowl concerts – the Chainsmokers and Lizzo – complete with marching bands, which I hear were great teasers for the entertainment sailors can expect onboard our upcoming voyages.

The Super Bowl is such an incredible spectacle and it’s great to see Virgin getting involved once more.