Virgin Red leverages games to build customer loyalty and enrich the Virgin ecosystem

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The Virgin Group’s rewards club, Virgin Red, is using games to help customers do more of what they love

Here’s how Playable is empowering the team in its mission, and how one campaign achieved the lowest cost-per-acquisition in company history – with five million views to boot!

Virgin Red ⁠— a loyalty program which rewards members, whatever floats their boat

Virgin Red is a rewards club with a mission: to reward members for doing the things that make them happy -– and gives them the means to do even more. Members earn Virgin Points when they travel, shop or explore with the Virgin family or big brands like ASOS and Just Eat, which they can spend on rewards from the Virgin ecosystem and beyond, including Virgin Voyages, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Experience Days, or even VIP concert tickets. There are also opportunities to win prizes – like fine wines, points towards Upper Class flights on Virgin Atlantic, tickets to a luxury cruise, or even a competition to win a trip to Spaceport Cornwall.

The challenge: how to capitalize on early success

Virgin Red has been using games in marketing for six years – and with great success, too. But its challenge was that previous game-making solutions were too time-consuming and handheld. The team needed an intuitive solution that would work right out of the box, and be responsive enough to adapt to multiple campaigns.

Additionally, it had to support its clearly defined brand, data protection, legal and insurance guidelines with minimal user input, to eliminate the need for intensive additional training and cost. The Playable platform’s flexibility meant these vital organizational pillars were taken care of at the outset, leaving the team free to experiment with game formats and try out different campaigns.

A different game every weekday supports daily app engagement

Through Playable’s platform, Virgin Red now offers its members at least five different games per week – a different one every weekday. With 30 different concepts to choose from, all of which can be easily customized with Virgin Red’s branding, there are lots of options, too.

It’s simple to reskin an existing campaign with new messaging and imagery, so there are endless possibilities proliferating from a simple starting point. This means that Virgin Red members get something different every day – from personality quizzes to memory games and drop games and more. All this supports Virgin Red’s goal of increased daily app engagement – an important KPI for the marketing team.

“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.”

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Adam Pow, Head of Member Engagement and CRM, Virgin Red

Supporting the wider Virgin community

Through games, Virgin Red works with other Virgin companies within the family to drive sign-ups to the Virgin Red program. This helps Virgin Red spend more time with its customer base, and gives customers the chance to take advantage of the wealth of rewards within the Virgin family. In this way, Virgin Red acts as a valuable facilitator, marketing promotions across the different businesses within the Virgin family for the benefit of all.

Case study: Virgin Red’s collaboration with Virgin Voyages

In a recent campaign, Virgin Red introduced games and the Playable platform to Virgin Voyages: a cruise line offering luxury sea getaways to the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Europe and beyond. Virgin Red used its relationship with Playable to create a competition offering players the chance to win places on an exciting Virgin Voyages cruise.

The campaign was designed to be mutually beneficial to both Virgin Red and Virgin Voyages. For Virgin Voyages, the competition would provide a positive solution to an unexpected challenge, which required the team to pivot at short notice, change their planned course, and source additional passengers. For Virgin Red, the intent was to collect member sign-ups from a registration form on the competition page. Results were impressive, including 131,000 competition entries; 3,500 new Virgin Red members; and participation from eight companies within the Virgin family.

The results: success at an unprecedented level

The competition’s results were among the best that Virgin Red has seen – achieving five million views with absolutely no marketing spend – the lowest cost-per-acquisition (CPA) in company history! It was a triple win: for the customers, Virgin Red, and Virgin Voyages. Not only did some lucky winners get the holiday of their dreams, but the extra positive attention drove paid ticket sales, too. With strong results to show teams in the wider Virgin family, this campaign has cemented Virgin Red’s role as an important facilitator for the broader business.

The results

  • Competition entries: 131,000
  • New members: 3,500
  • Views: 5 million

Why does Playable work for Virgin Red?

Virgin Red wanted to adapt its early success from using games, but found it time-consuming and unnecessarily complex. It looked at other companies besides Playable, but couldn’t find the same offering of product and service.

“We enjoy working with Playable – they’re great, helpful and decent people, which makes everything a lot easier. It becomes more of a conversation and dialogue with them than being an order taken.”

– Adam Pow, Head of Member Engagement and CRM, Virgin Red

Virgin Red also appreciates the support on offer, particularly the customer success manager’s expertise, and how easy it was to get in touch when they needed to.

“I’m a marketer so I understand how to use games in marketing. But I’m not in the games industry, so that’s the knowledge that Playable can bring. The ideas that our customer success manager has had and the way they show how games can be used is really useful.”

– Adam Pow, Head of Member Engagement and CRM, Virgin Red

Playable’s platform and industry-leading expertise meant using games became a very easy, adaptable and affordable solution to support Virgin Red’s strategy to ‘make play serious business.’