30 July 2007

Is Virgin's new airline V and an old V?

What's in a name when you already use it?

Certainly it seems a case of recycling, a name when Virgin Airlines Australia announced the name of it's new US/Australia long haul airline last week.

V Australia is the official name of Virgin Blue's new long haul carrier, but a visit to parent company Virgin's website already lists Virgin Vie (pronounced V) and the V Festival (recently launched in Australia) as company sub-brands. So DIFFUSION really wonders if the airline has really thought through the whole naming and sub-brand process.

But what should we expect when the name came as a result of a two week competition ran by a radio station which attracted a total of 5942 entries, which included some what the airlines desscribes as "creative suggrestions" like "Randy Roo Airlines", "Choo Choo Flying Big Blue" and "Pineapple Airlines". Among the finalists were: Matilda Blue, V Australia Airlines, Australia Blue, Virgin Pacific, Amelia Blue, Didgeree Blue, Liberty Blue and Virgin Australia.

Here at DIFFUSION either Virgin Pacific or Virgin Australia would seem to fit with current nomenclature.

The company says the decision was unanimous but we're not sure if that was because Virgin Blue CEO Brett Godfrey really didn't have to pay any of the fees associated with a real name and branding project of this status, or just like Virgin CEO Richard Branson was more interested in the PR value.

Certainly it doesn't fit into any of the British namesake's nomenclature and is remarkably similar to Virgin's cosmetics company Virgin Vie, which DIFFUSION director Stephen Byrne worked on, or to the eponymously named V Festival.

But Godfrey claimed the new name was "nice and simple, easily recognised, both understated and obvious and has a clear Australian identity" (does he mean brand identity?)

Even more interesting was the inclusion of the Southern Cross in the new livery for the airline, yet another swipe at rival Qantas.

The livery, closer to former Qantas rival Ansett, features a smart silver fuselage with a red tail including the stars of the Southern Cross, elements of the Australian flag and the distinctive Virgin red.

"It is important for us to use the Southern Cross not only for its geographic connotations, but also for its place in Australian aviation folklore," said Godfrey.

When DIFFUSION checked, the name wasn't even associated with a local website or the huge Virgin.com portal.

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