Trevor Beattie is working pro bono to market Sir Richard Branson’s commercial space programme Virgin Galactic, which he hopes will become a flagship account for Beattie McGuinness Bungay (BMB).
The former TBWA/London creative director who left to set up BMB last May says he wants to change the perception that the Virgin space service is “just one big stunt”. Beattie says people don’t believe the Galactic project will take off, even though the first commercial flights are planned for 2008.
The Galactic top team – Branson, his right-hand man Will Whitehorn who is heading the project and pilot Alex Tate – are meeting with Beattie at the Galactic Forum Los Angeles at the beginning of next month to formalise strategies.
Beattie, who has already paid $200,000 (&£115,150) for a flight on the inaugural voyage, says he is giving his time free because he is “evangelical” about the project, which he believes isn’t treated with the seriousness it deserves. Almost 50,000 people have already put down a minimum $2,000 (&£1,150) deposit.
The agency was believed to be in talks with Sir Richard over the Galactic advertising business shortly after launching, although details were never disclosed.
“Primarily the work we will be doing is to keep this in the forefront of the press,” he says. “I don’t think people really believe it’s happening. But this is not fiction, it is reality – it is happening soon.”
Beattie will also be looking at other business opportunities, tie-ups, potential product placements and “suitable” sponsors.”I am very protective of this. We don’t want anyone hijacking Galactic. If anyone is going to pull a stunt it’s going to be us. I am going to be behind the scenes, helping with management, public relations and making people believe this is a reality.
“It is part of our job to change perceptions. It is about marketing as a whole rather than advertising for passengers.”