Virgin Media’s parent Liberty Global has taken a bold step to bolster its European Communications Team by hiring a veteran BBC World presenter and Radio 2 frontwoman, Rebecca Pike. Liberty Global, in an effort to power-up its public relations, have also appointed the previous News UK communications boss, Guto Harri, to a high-level position last year, making Pike one of a team of high-powered PR experts at Virgin.
Pike, whos prior employers include the Daily Telegraph as well as the BBC, has also been an anchor on BBC World and a presenter on the BBC News Channel. Her new role will see her report to Guto Harri from her base in London, and will begin on 3rd May this year.
As well as hiring the two British media experts, Liberty Global have also taken on Julia Hart, the previous communications director of AkzoNobel, the parent company of household decorations name Dulux. She will take on her role as the vice president of external communications this year, and is based in Amsterdam.
When questioned about the new appointments, Harri responded by saying “It’s a real privilege to build a team for a world-class company, and I’m thrilled to recruit two excellent communicators to help us tell our tale. Rebecca has experience, insight, contacts and an understanding of vast and diverse audiences – invaluable for a global company building the critical infrastructure of our age. Her gift for presenting complex issues in an understandable and engaging form will be a huge asset.”
He went on to speak of the appointment of Hart as well, adding “Julia Hart is a seasoned and imaginative PR professional with a great track record who will help bring alive the Liberty Global mission to invest, innovate and empower our customers around the world.”
The new appointments to the communications team have been made just in time for the launch of Virgin Media’s first Virtual Reality campaign, which launched with a 2 and a half minute film allowing customers to move around a party in full, 360-degree virtual reality. The project ties in to their existing “House Party” TV advert, and was made possible by a 26-lens camera with 360-degree view, moving through the party on a robotic rig. The viewer can look in any direction as they are led through a party, watching the people there make the most of the super-fast Virgin Media internet connections by entertaining one another with videos and photos.
According to Manning Gottlieb, Virgin’s media agency, this makes Virgin Media the fdirst company in the UK to tell a brand story using both TV and an interweaved virtual reality experience.
The film was shot in partnership with emergent virtual reality experts Jaunt VR and camera moguls Vision3, and directed by Stephen Boyle. As well as driving online experiences, Virgin Media is also using their virtual house party to amplify in-store customer experiences, using specially-made virtual reality headsets available in 20 of their stores across the UK.