Settling down to a few uninterrupted hours of inflight entertainment is one of the great pleasures of long-haul flying. In August alone we have over 100 movies, 360 albums and podcasts, 90 TV shows, 20 games and 30 hours of kids’ content to choose from.
When it comes to onboard media, we aim to be that valued friend whose recommendations you trust. It’s something that sets us apart from other airlines and explains why we like to wrap our whole entertainment offering into a brand within our brand: Vera. Once you sit down, your first experience of Vera will be either our glossy seatback feature magazine or our shiny new on-screen idents that have just launched onboard.
What is an ident?
You’ll have certainly seen an ident, but you may not be familiar with the term. Short for ‘identification’, it’s a media phrase used to describe the short clip shown before the main event begins. They’re the ‘welcome’ sign to an entertainment channel or film studio: that roaring lion before an MGM classic, or the BBC’s famous circle of hippos. The best idents distil the personality of an entertainment brand in a matter of seconds, helping you understand what it stands for. They can be as brief as the simple flash of a logo, or as sophisticated as a high-end mini production. As you’ll see, our new Vera idents definitely fall into the latter camp. Lavishly produced, they convey our obsession with cinema in a few short frames, putting you in the mood for a great few hours viewing.
Our idents over the years
Our first real idents were developed in the late 1990s. At the time we had different inflight entertainment systems on different types of aircraft, with idents linked to those systems – some of you will remember them as Odyssey, Nova, V:Port and JAM. More recently our well-known ‘globe’ idents have become familiar to many, but earlier this year we asked the London creative agency Happy Ending to deliver a series of new idents for Vera.
“Our insight focused on one of the best parts of long-haul travel; the sheer pleasure of being able to binge watch the latest TV shows and films,” said Ross Popejoy, creative director at Happy Ending. “What a joy: no one interrupting (apart from a meal service or two), not having to watch what your partner wants to, just you, a screen and everything you want to watch but never have the time. So our creative executions were based on that, delivering more of the same, quality cinematic experiences that Virgin Atlantic viewers will enjoy, blended seamlessly with the Vera brand.
“The one thing we really wanted was to not interrupt the viewer’s cinematic experience but to enhance it and make Vera part of it too. So we set about creating five movie moments that showcased different genres of film and TV. True to the Virgin Atlantic brand, adventure was at the heart of the narrative and Vera was right in the centre of the action represented as a cool vintage holdall with mysterious contents. We then watch the story unfold as we dip in and out of this movie, with characters and organisations desperate to get their hands on Vera and its contents.
“We wanted to leave passengers wanting more and lead them excitedly into the film or TV show they’re about to watch. We worked very hard to deliver cinematic experiences that would merge seamlessly with the content from the big film studios, so there was no jarring. We also created moments throughout all of the films that would keep the viewer interested and intrigued, like the end scene in Buried Treasure where our cowboy disappears, or the mysterious shadow in Agent X.”
The films were shot in locations around our route map including Palm Springs, Malibu, Los Angeles, and finally ending at the new, luxury Beekman hotel in downtown Manhattan, NYC. All of the backdrops were chosen to show the intrepid side of Virgin Atlantic and to showcase some of the wonderful destinations we fly to.
Who is Vera?
Our onboard content is a diverse mix with something for every taste, yet we still want it to be as far away as you can get from ‘the sort of thing you watch on planes’. When you experience Vera you know you’re getting carefully curated content that can challenge you, be thought-provoking, funny and occasionally controversial. You’ll also find big name movies before they’re live on streaming services like Netflix. But what’s in a name?
Vera’s real identity is the stuff of much speculation at the airline. Some think it simply stands for ‘Virgin’s Entertainment is Really Amazing’. Or it was chosen because it sounds like Vero, which means ‘truth’ in many languages. Could Vera be the name of the famous cabin crew member seen handing out ice creams before melting into the floor of our 2011 ‘you’ve either got it or you haven’t’ advert?
In reality, Vera is none of those things. In the words of Leon Trigg, our production and digital media manager, Vera is confident, funny, sexy, kitsch, vibrant, warm, friendly and modern with touches of retro glamour. The name is cool and irreverent while offering feelings of safety and peace of mind. Don’t worry, Leon always talks like that!
Vera is also our monthly high-quality editorial magazine with a focus on travel and entertainment. As well as onboard entertainment listings, you’ll also find A-list interviews and enlightening travel articles. In August’s edition, we have an exclusive interview with Paloma Faith as well as articles on dogs who make headlines, Black Panther haircuts and Coney Island hot dogs. You’ll find Vera competitions on Facebook, Vera playlists on Spotify and exclusive Vera audio interviews onboard, too.
In short, Vera is the best entertainment channel in the sky. So the next time you’re settling down to an onboard movie pay extra attention to the idents (now you know what they are!).
Here are the new idents:
Agent X – https://vimeo.com/278465833/71098dcd0a
Rebel Rebel – https://vimeo.com/278478325/4aa8a8d232
Surfs Up – https://vimeo.com/278479583/cae1b2f432
Phone Booth – https://vimeo.com/278028680/9f24fda494
Discovery – https://vimeo.com/278028650/54f3409e95
Visit our entertainment pages to keep up to date with all the latest movies, music and TVon Vera and download Vera Magazine
And keep an eye out for exclusive Vera interviews with Paloma Faith both onboard and in Vera magazine. Here’s a taster: