Wednesday, 27 January 2010

the zoomable paper map

Map 2 is a folding paper map of Greater London, with a twist (or rather, a fold): You can zoom in.

It unfolds from a little square into a bigger, four-sectioned overview of the city-center.

Any of these four quarters can then be folded out using a “patented folding” system to reveal a larger, zoomed version of the plan.

It’s as ingenious as it is low-tech, and probably well worth the £8 asking price.

The only problem I can see, as with most maps, is working out how to fold the thing back up once you've used it!

a bus back that's just so wrong

Think of the stuff you do when you're on your own. Picking your nose, etc, etc...

Doing it public is weird. No one wants to see it.

Its the same with advertising ideas that you come up with in-house. It may seem relevant and interesting to you, but really it's private.

That's why this bus back is so weird. It's too private and comes across creepy to anyone but the person who's thought it was.

Good ad agencies can make your private ideas acceptable to the committees they serve. That is one of our skills.

This advert isn't intensely bad, it's just private.

Friday, 22 January 2010

are you a brand loyalist or a product examiner?

Just read a great article on The Ad Contrarian (TAC) website assessing President Obama's first year in office.

TAC looks at Obama's activity over the period and goes into the areas where he needs to concentrate his efforts to get America back on track as the recession (hopefully) nears an end.

Although it has a political slant, the article uses great marketing analogies - splitting the electorate into either Brand Loyalists or Product Examiners. With our own election looming in the Spring Cameron, Brown and the other one could well do with taking it all in.

Read the full piece here.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

ScotRail Club 55 ticket sales double

The Club 55 promotion (click on image) which we have produced for a number of years with ScotRail enables anyone over 55 to travel for £15 return, anywhere in Scotland – plus Berwick upon Tweed and Carlisle.

The combination of a single fixed price and updated marketing material has help sales to continually grow year on year. Last year they sold double the amount!

Graeme Macfarlan, ScotRail’s marketing manager, said: “Last year, nearly twice as many people took advantage of Club 55 than in the year before. It’s a great offer at any time but particularly after the festive period when many people have less cash than usual.”

We also handle the Club 55 campaigns for First Great Western and TransPennine Express.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

network rail's advertising partner goes into administration

JCDecaux, the world's second largest outdoor advertising company, has completed the acquisition of rival Titan Outdoor.

Titan, which has a number of major contracts in the UK including Network Rail's £26m-a-year ad deal, was forced into administration yesterday after failing to secure financial backing to continue operations.

Under the terms of the deal, JCDecaux will take over the majority of

commuter cat Casper killed in hit and run

An adventurous feline who won worldwide fame for catching free bus rides across his home city has been run over.

Casper the cat was on his way to take another journey on the public transport around Plymouth, Devon, when he was killed in a hit and run.

A notice has been placed at his favourite bus stop in Barne Barton announcing his death.

"Many local people knew Casper, who loved everyone - he also enjoyed the bus journeys," it read. "Sadly a motorist hit him... and did not stop.

"Casper died from his injuries. He will be greatly missed... he was a much-loved pet who had so much character. Thank you to all those who befriended him."

another pointless sign

Only this time on my local bus.

Following on from our post on pointless station signs, here is one I saw this morning.

Now just in case you can't read it (click on the image to make it bigger), the sign says 'These are tip up seats which can be returned to the vertical position'.

We know that, they're already in the vertical position! And when they're not vertical you can't see the sign!

Why not say 'These are pull down seats'. Simple.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

looks like an ad in Corrie is the way forward after all...

A report in today's Guardian says the traditional British past-time of watching broadcast television will dominate viewing habits for years to come.

The article "urges advertisers not to lose faith in the effectiveness of conventional TV advertising, arguing that online and on-demand catch-up TV services have been hyped by the superficial use of big numbers."

It continues "many surveys of popularity rely on self-reporting, which tends to underestimate traditional media consumption and place too much emphasis on use of snazzy new-media gadgetry." I think we all know what that refers to.

So if you're thinking of launching a mass market product, do it on the market's terms not yours. Ad breaks in Corrie it is then.

Read the full story here.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

the best bus adshel ever?

Just goes to prove it's not about the channels you advertise on, but more what you do with them.

Or in the words of Bananarama "T'ain't What You Do (It's the Way That You Do It)"

Red Dot Day - travel anywhere for £10

For one day only East Midlands Trains are offering unlimited travel from a selected station to anywhere on the network for just £10 (£5 for children).

The promotion called 'Red Dot Day' is valid from East Midlands Parkway on the 30 January 2010. You can also take advantage of cheaper car parking rate of £5 a day.

To get the special tickets you have to complete the form on their website to create a personal voucher. You then print the voucher and present it at the station when you buy your tickets (multiple tickets can be bought with one voucher.)

A good promo similar to the Club 55 promotion we do for ScotRail, TransPennine Express (see the campaign here) and Great Western (see the campaign here). But this one is open to anyone and picks a particular station that you can travel from and changes each time.

It's an excellent data capture tool and is sure to get a good boost in passenger numbers - our Club 55 campaigns get a ROI of at least 10:1 and are always very popular.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

taking it to the Max - PR guru hired by bus company

PR guru Max Clifford has been hired by a bus company in Scotland that is currently banned from providing services .

Bankfoot Buses, run by Stuart Newing-Davis and his wife, had been providing an hourly service in competition between Perth and Dunkeld that was heavily subsidised by profits from a previous business sale.

Unfortunately for the couple they had their licence confiscated by Scotland’s Traffic Commissioner last year.

who's the most admired of the UK’s big five bus groups?

According to Management Today it's Stagecoach.

The Omnibuses blog have today asked what their readers think of the 'big five':
"Many admire the Stagecoach approach to revenue growth. Outside the UK, very little seems to go wrong. Even though it appears in the Management Today list ahead of the other Big Four, is this an opinion shared by readers of this blog? Each of the Big Five has its strengths:

First—containing costs
Stagecoach—growth strategies
Arriva—bit of an all-rounder
Go Ahead—marketing & local management
National Express—brand strength"

 Click here to read the story

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Siberia shows us how to do it

Last week's News of the World carried a good little story about comparisons between how our transport systems copes in the cold and that of Siberia, where temperatures have fallen as low as -58C with daily snowfalls this winter.

In the city of Novosibirsk, a transport official confirmed that despite the adverse weather conditions, there were no delays over the seven time zones and 5,753 miles on the Moscow to Vladivostok railway line. Not bad eh?

He poked fun at the fact that the Eurostar service had been stopped because of fluffy snow and also at our levels of service. "How could a railway stop working because of snow - what would happen to the passengers?" he commented.

It's fair to say he's got a point.

Friday, 8 January 2010

not a fare deal? OFT to probe local bus operators

Bus passengers across the UK could face the prospect of cheaper fares and better services after a watchdog recommended a crackdown on the industry.

The Office of Fair Trading referred providers of local bus services, excluding London and Northern Ireland, to the Competition Commission after its research suggested the system did not work in favour of consumers.

According to the study, limited competition between operators tends to result in higher prices and lower quality of service.

The majority of local routes are operated by a small number of large bus companies, who largely respect each others' territory.

The OFT received around 30 complaints alleging predatory behaviour to eliminate competition from new entrants.

will anything really change?

Snow has fallen, the country has ground to a halt, Big Brother is back on the TV and Chelsea are top of the league - seems like things haven't changed a bit.

But I'm afraid change is exactly what is required if the industry's marketers want different results from their campaigns. Agencies appreciate that budgets are being squeezed and pressure is being applied - so whether your strategy is online, offline, through the line or just a plain old straight line - challenge your agency and challenge yourself to do something different.

Spend your pennies wisely, spend them specifically and spend them differently. Public transport marketers of 2010 - this industry needs you!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

'career women make bad mothers' bus ads pulled

The Outdoor Advertising Association has ordered the withdrawal of controversial billboard ad which read "Career women make bad mothers" following an outcry from working mothers.

The ads, which were part of an OAA campaign designed to promote the effectiveness of billboard advertising, started appearing on the side of buses and on an estimated 11,000 billboard sites this week and were due to run for two weeks in total.

However the OAA today ordered them to be immediately replaced with alternative slogans. These will be "Educashun Isn't Working" and "1966. It Won't Happen This Year", a reference to England's chances in this summer's World Cup.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

would you pay more to cut 20/30mins off your train journey?

Well according to a recent Passenger Focus poll, apparently not:
  • 56% No
  • 24% Maybe
  • 20% Yes
So why are we going to spend £34billion on doing so?

However, I'm sure they would pay more for fine wine and supermodels, I would, see our recent post.

indian village opens DIY railway station

An Indian village has built its own railway station and persuaded authorities to stop trains there so that local people can travel to nearby towns for work and college, officials said Tuesday.

Residents of Tajnagar, who had watched trains pass through their village for decades, started a campaign for a station in the village in 1982 but their pleas remained unanswered.

Two years ago they took the matter into their own hands by collecting 45,000 dollars to build their own -- complete with two platforms, electricity and a ticket counter.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

high-speed rail link is a waste of money - we need supermodels and fine wine

Transport Secretary Lord Adonis has announced that proposals for a high-speed railway link that connects London with Scotland could be agreed upon as early as March.

Is it me or does anyone else think that the anticipated £34billion is a bit steep to just 'cut journey times from London to Scotland by 45 minutes'?

I watched a really brilliant talk by Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy Group UK, recently where he came up with a creative soloution to the high-speed rail problem...

Monday, 4 January 2010

power 50: the most influential people in the passenger transport sector

Who holds the power and influence? New Transit compiled its list of the top 50.

Candidates were judged on two key criteria - the clout that they wield in their current position, and the cultural influence that they exert over their peers. The aim was to take a snapshot of the individuals who run or influence the UK passenger transport sector in 2009.