Racy Virgin Atlantic ad touts service to China

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[Shanghai, China] Virgin Atlantic broke a racy ad in China to let travelers know the airline now has six flights per week between Shanghai and London, more than British Airways or China Eastern, the other two carriers on the route.

"Our job was to make [Virgin's new flight schedule] as visible as possible on a small budget, to make the ad as `Virgin' as possible and to take the creative out of the realm of the usual airline advertising. Local reaction says we have achieved all this," said Neil Hardwick, Shanghai-based CEO, China, Publicis Worldwide.

Virgin Atlantic has been steadily increasing flights between the U.K. and Shanghai, first business and leisure passengers to China and more recently Chinese tourists as the Chinese government loosens travel restrictions.

"China is now ranked among the world's top outbound tourism nations," said Glen Murphy, managing director, China for ACNielsen in Shanghai. Seven percent of Chinese in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou took an overseas trip in the past 12 months and the same percentage plan one in the next year, according to ACNielsen. Sixty percent of travelers claimed to travel for leisure, and only about one fifth traveled for business.

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