Virgin Group reward club Virgin Red has appointed Carat to handle global media planning and buying, following a three-way pitch process handled by intermediary the Aperto Partnership.
The Dentsu-owned agency becomes responsible for managing strategy, planning and investment across all media in the UK, US and various European markets. It takes over from Bountiful Cow, which won the business back in 2020. It is understood that the latter did not repitch for the business.
Virgin Red is the Virgin parent brand's loyalty scheme. It allows members to earn points from shopping and purchasing Virgin Trains tickets, and redeem them for rewards ranging from "everyday treats" such as cinema tickets or coffee, to experiences including concerts at Virgin Red Room.
Carat, whose Manchester team clinched the win, will use its "Designing for People" approach to help drive Virgin Red growth.
Virgin Red promoted a relaunch of its loyalty scheme last June, with a cross-media campaign including TV work that depicted a woman borne aloft by bubblegum. The work was the debut of a creative agency partnership between Glow London and Truant London. Glow won Virgin's business in January.
Virgin Red was relaunched in 2020 to bring it closer to the Virgin parent brand. The rewards scheme is targeting Virgin's 15 million-plus customers in the UK.
Kelly Best, managing director product, customer experience and marketing at Virgin Red, said: "We have exciting plans to grow Virgin Red globally and reward Virgin customers across the Virgin family. The strategic approach the team took during the pitch process demonstrated that Carat will be a great partner on that journey. We're very excited to work with them."
Clare Chapman, Carat UK's chief executive, added: "I'm so proud that Virgin Red has chosen to work with Carat across the UK, US and a number of European territories. We are excited to grow its brand through our collaborative, people-first approach and to partner with the team within the framework of a truly innovative commercial proposition. We can't wait to get started".