01 August 1998

RICHARD BRANSON’S endorsement of the multiplicity of Virgin brands is no longer the customer magnet that he and his cohorts might hope, according to a survey carried out by Taylor Nelson Sofres for Marketing magazine. A 1,000-strong sample was questioned on its attitudes to Branson and the Virgin brand: 72% said Branson’s name or face would make absolutely no difference to their purchasing decisions, whilst half the remainder saw his endorsement as a distinct turn-off. Over half the interviewees would ‘definitely not’ buy Virgin clothes, and 64% would not purchase Virgin Vie cosmetics. However, Virgin Atlantic, was viewed positively by most of the group - although one in five would ‘definitely not fly’ on a Virgin plane. A general belief that Branson is a favourite with the young was also scotched by the survey, although a Virgin spokesman played down these findings as the radical beliefs of youth, claiming: ‘The 15-24 age group are less likely to buy something endorsed by anyone. They are very cynical about corporations.’