Unbound Edition. Meaningful conversations about brand, from Davis Brand Capital.

Virgin America’s 6-Hour Preroll Ad Is Creepy, Warholian and Sort of Brilliant

People have a hard time sitting through five seconds of pre-roll on YouTube. How will they react to almost six hours of it—much of which is intentionally, preposterously, stultifyingly boring?

Virgin America is about to find out.

The airline today breaks a curious new online campaign from ad agency Eleven in San Francisco. And the centerpiece is a strange, Warholian web film depicting—in real time—the experience on a typical rival carrier (here it’s called BLAH Airlines, and yes, they have a website) during a five-hour-and-45-minute flight from Newark to San Francisco.

The passengers are mannequins—they’re so bored, they can’t even move a muscle. And indeed, BLAH is the antithesis of Virgin. The seats are cramped, the lighting is harsh, there’s scant entertainment and no real food.

“The passengers have no choice but to be on ‘autopilot’ to get through the tedious journey,” says Virgin. “Just trying to watch the video is downright painful—and that’s the point. If you wouldn’t sit through the entire film, why would you pay money to experience it in real life?”

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