Cannes Lions

The Holiday Spirit


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Supporting Images
Demo Film






Consumer insights data showed that people take holidays because of a desire to escape their day-to-day lives and experience the feelings that a holiday delivers.. relaxation, rejuvenation, happiness, escapism etc.

Whilst our brief was simply to raise awareness of Virgin Holidays during the key sales period, we knew it would be more effective to do this in a way that genuinely articulated how a holiday would make prospective customers FEEL.

Creatively this was our starting point. We wondered - how can we scientifically determine and tangibly articulate the blend of 'ingredients' that make the perfect holiday?

We realised that by using innovative data analysis and cognitive mapping we could do just that.

The result was The Holiday Spirit, the world's first 'data distilled' rum. A batch of premium rum, scientifically blended to reflect the ingredients of the 'perfect' holiday, designed to give prospective customers a genuine ‘taste’ of the Caribbean.


To generate the recipe, Watson took the first round of big data analysis and put it through a cognitive mapping process.

It then assigned each emotion to a specific flavour profile, ensuring the percentage of the flavour reflected the percentage of the emotion in the perfect holiday equation - thus ensuring the recipe was a scientifically robust reflection of the right blend of ingredients to accurately reflect the 'perfect' holiday spirit.

We then passed the recipe to a boutique Barbados distillery and enlisted Ian Burrell, the UK's leading authority on rum to supervise the process. This resulted in a small batch production run of 2000 bottles, 800 of which were made available to the public to buy in Virgin Holidays stores. The remaining bottles were used as sales incentives by the sales team.


Campaign assets (2 x films, cinemagraphs, gifs and photography) achieved a combined online reach of over 440 million people, with 9 million social 'engagements' (likes, shares, comments).

The mass PR coverage reached over 49 million people, with coverage that appeared everywhere from Mashable and Buzzfeed to the Huffington Post. Whilst it achieved a strong global footprint, a key benchmark for success for Virgin Holidays from a PR perspective was UK exposure, and this campaign was covered by every major UK news outlet, with over 89% of online coverage embedding the hero content.

The 800 bottles sold out immediately and the remaining 1200 bottles were used to drive prospective customers in-store for exclusive tasting events, they became a highly effective sales promotion tool for sales advisors to convert a 'prospect'.

Most importantly, this campaign drove a 12% increase in sale-related web traffic for Virgin Holidays.

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