Virgin Trains, with Stagecoach as the majority shareholder, won the East Coast mainline franchise and appointed us to work with the newly named Virgin Trains East Coast.
Announcing new franchises is a tricky business because it’s important that they don’t come across as an aggressive takeover, especially in this case as not only are East Coast employees very proud to work for the company, but they also had the highest customer satisfaction rates amongst all other train companies. The need to retain both was a priority to ensure the success of the franchise.
We developed the first ever launch campaign with good manners. Polite but certainly not quiet.
A simple yet bold campaign built around the idea of introductions, demonstrating that Virgin was taking the trouble and the time to properly introduce themselves and all of the great service initiatives they have planned.
Of course, the campaign had to stand out and deliver multiple messages at the same time, so we made our introductions on a striking Virgin red background to grab attention.
The campaign ran in London, Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh, with OOH domination at King's Cross underground station and as well as full cover wraps in Evening Standard and Metro. And as a media first, we took over regional press titles with innovative use of space, from changing the colour of the mast heads to running consecutive messages in each title. The campaign was also supported by radio, digital and taxi wraps.
They say that manners cost nothing. This time, manners paid dividends.
The campaign generated a 71% increase in spontaneous brand recall of Virgin Trains East Coast (measured pre and post campaign), as well as the highest ever campaign recall when compared with other east coast new franchise launch.