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Louise Holding: Working in the Press Office

by Moderator March 2014

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We're very proud of how Virgin Atlantic continues to be an in-demand brand, and our Press Office is always on hand to support requests from the media and ensure we're seen in the best possible light. And for our Press Officers, this means no two days are ever quite the same. In fact, some days can be downright surreal.

For a behind-the-scenes peek at what goes on during a celebrity on-board TV shoot, we've invited Press Officer Louise Holding to spill the beans on her recent sky-high encounter with Keith Lemon and his gang...

Jetting off

Hi! I’m Louise Holding, Press Officer for Virgin Atlantic. I’m always looking for innovative ways to showcase our products and services, and highlight the added sparkle for which we’re globally renowned. So when the production team for TV’s Keith Lemon wanted to show him jetting off to LA in style, enjoying the luxury of upper class, we jumped at the chance. 

Working in the Press Office means I often find myself in unusual situations. However, cruising 35,000 feet above Greenland with a topless Keith Lemon bounding toward me has got to be the most bizarre to date. Thankfully, there was a reason for Keith’s partial nudity, as I was accompanying the filming of his popular reality TV show, Lemon La Vida Loca. The Lemon saga began back in March when I was approached by Talkback Productions to assist with some filming on board our aircraft. Escorting film crew is something we do quite regularly and we’ve been lucky enough to work on some great films and TV shows, including James Bond, Friends and The X Factor.

On board

Although it’s my job to achieve the best possible product placement, I also want to ensure that our filming doesn’t impose on any of our passengers or impact on our crew while they’re at work. In the build-up to the shoot, I worked closely with Richard Marks and the Customer Relations team who informed Upper Class customers about the filming at check-in. Customers are usually excited by on-board filming, but it’s still good to forewarn passengers of the unusual flight activity. I also have to brief all cabin crew prior to the day.

On the day of the flight I met with the production team to go over the filming procedures and suggested some specific shots that would showcase the best of our Upper Class product as well as many of our unique service elements. We filmed at the Upper Class bar, then Keith in his seat, enjoying some afternoon tea, and finally changing into his special stripy pyjamas and relaxing in the flat bed. 

It's a wrap

We look for chances to bolster our branding opportunities, so I wrote into our contract that one of our fabulous cabin crew needed to be behind the bar, interacting with Keith. Crew are one of our biggest assets, so I always try to get them included in filming opportunities where I can. I even got to make a cameo of my own as one of the extras at the bar chatting to Keith. Overall, the filming lasted several hours and included the key areas of our Upper Class cabin.

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Once we’d wrapped, Keith was more than happy to pose for photos and sign autographs. I stayed with him and his team for the rest of the flight, ensuring they were well looked after. It’s always useful to build new contacts for future filming opportunities.

We were delighted as the first seven minutes of the show were dedicated to us, highlighting all the benefits of Upper Class, including a very positive narration from Keith. It also featured air-to-air shots of the aircraft, so viewers would not be in any doubt which airline he travelled with.

If you liked Louise’s story learn more here about becoming a part of the Virgin Atlantic culture.

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About the author: Maxine

Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.