May 3, 2012 at 4:23 PM ET
If you didn't think Virgin Atlantic cabins, with their mood lighting and retro sensibility, could get any more psychedelic, think again.
The airline has just unveiled "Little Richard" ice cubes, which are molded in the likeness of the company's president, Sir Richard Branson. The details are striking in their resemblance, down to Branson's signature wavy hair and Cheshire grin. The airline said that it took six weeks to create the mold using photographic techniques and laser scanning technology.
When Branson announced the cube's debut on Wednesday on Twitter, he joked, "When I said let’s put the idea on ice, this isn’t what I had in mind @virginatlantic!"
Rather than a tribute to the airline's fearless leader, the cubes are a stunt to promote Virgin Atlantic's new onboard bar, which the airline says is the longest of any carrier. The bar is eight feet long, accommodates eight passengers and is a feature of the airline's new upper-class cabin. The bar is already on flights between JFK and Heathrow and will be added to more routes soon. The ice cubes will begin popping up in drinks this month.
This isn't the airline's first attempt to brand the new upper-class cabins. In March, the airline launched a red lipstick; a spokesperson for the company told TODAY.com that, “Red lips signify jet-set glamour and style synonymous with the Virgin Atlantic brand.”
Matt Eastwood, chief creative officer at the advertising agency DDB New York, called the ice cube-campaign "brilliant" since it quickly becomes a conversation starter. "Is it the most amazing idea I've ever seen? No. But it's smart, simple and very true to the brand character," Eastwood told msnbc.com. "And, best of all, it provides a quick, inexpensive media hit for the brand."
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Rebecca Ruiz is a reporter at msnbc.com. Follow her on Twitter.