Virgin Atlantic is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year—and what better way than an advertising campaign which casts its (universally female, tall, thin, light-skinned, and mostly blonde) flight attendants as bait for male passengers?

If you can't view the video, it opens with a note telling us the time and place—"June 22, 1984, London," presumably the day of Virgin's first flight out of Heathrow—and verisimilitude is added with a newspaper headline about a miners' strike and a businessman using a giant cell phone at the airport. Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax (When You Want to Come)" plays in the background as the disembodied parts of the sexy flight attendants are revealed through the crowd:

—while various men are showed gawking, slack-jawed and possibly jizzing in their pants, at the gaggle of flight attendants*:

—and, naturally, "ugly" flight attendants from other, less-sexy airlines gaze on with a mixture of contempt, fear, and jealousy (you know how women are!):

—before the full breadth of the Virgin team's glory is finally revealed, in a scene simultaneously reminiscent of Catch Me If You Can and any one of a number of shitty Robert Palmer videos:

I'm not certain, but I believe Virgin Airlines is telling us that, in the '80s, their pilots also served as pimps, arranging Mile-High Club dates between Virgin stewardesses and the discerning male business traveler.

The ad is truly a clusterfucktastrophe of mythic proportions, but, of course, we're supposed to recognize how "fun" it is because it's all retro and shit, wherein sexism and a lack of diversity is justified by judicious use of the word "vintage." (See: The Mad Men Model.)

Shaker SapphireCate, who gets the hat tip, notes that only 29 people have reportedly complained to the UK's Advertising Standards Authority about this advert, and adds: "It would be nice if more than 29 people would bother to tell the advertising standards agency that this sort of advertising is regressive, offensive and damaging to the dignity and professionalism of the men and women who work in the airline industry."

File an ASA complaint here. Contact Virgin here. (How to Complain.)

Maybe you'd like to ask Virgin why their Responsible Business Practice doesn't include refusing to promote prejudice.


* Did you see The Fat GuyTM spilling food on his shirt?! Hilarious!!! Gawd, making fun of fat people is awesome!

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