Red Bee Media was appointed in January following a creative unpaid pitch against one other shortlisted consultancy.
Virgin’s brief was influenced by recent consumer research that found that the Virgin brand is ‘warm, smart and sometimes goes too far’, according to Virgin Media marketing director Jeff Dodds.
‘You have to go 3D to express those qualities, which is where the idea of the puppet came in,’ says Dodds.
Red Bee Media created the concept of a character called Red – reflecting Virgin’s red branding – who sits in his home, watching TV and reacting to the programmes ‘with honesty and irreverance,’ according to Red Bee Media director of creative Andy Bryant.
Red Bee Media appointed creator Paul Jomain – the man behind the PG Tips monkey – to realise Red, who is made of a rough, red material and has heart-shaped feet.
Red will appear in 15 idents, and will take charge of all programme navigation and credit rolls.
Virgin1’s new logo is intended to recall the 1980s and broaden the channel’s appeal to women.
‘Virgin1 had a slight masculine skew, with its slick, dark and impactful branding, but we want it to appeal to both sexes now,’ says Dodds.
Red Bee Media worked closely with Virgin Media’s in-house design team – made up of 17 people headed by head of graphics Jo Kheir – on the rebrand.
The new branding will be trailed from tomorrow, with a promo in which Richard Branson interviews Red, who goes on to beat the Muppets and win the job of Virgin1 front-man.