Friday, 30 July 2010

has this man got a point?

I've just seen the following quote commenting on a possible solution to transport congestion in York.

"In this country we have to desperately seek problems, such that then we can rack our collective council pea-brains to come up with a solution; form sub-committees, steering groups, consultation exercises, followed by decisions on advertising and, gawd 'elp us, 'branding' and what logo to paint on their sides.

Just do it. It's not particularly advanced thinking, it's too obvious for that.

Wait a minute; Health & Safety..... insurance....Oh, well, forget it then....."

Whether you agree with the idea or not, you can't help thinking the guy quoted has a point.

Read the full story on Taxibus here.

Monday, 26 July 2010

looking back at 24 years of our train advertising

Whilst having a clear out, after recently moving offices, we stumbled upon some old InterCity and Great Western leaflets that we designed dating back to 1986!

So, for those that are interested (I know some won't be) here are some of the best hand-crafted/illustrated beauties we found.

(Click the images to enlarge)


Thursday, 22 July 2010

who's to blame - agency or client?

A Facebook campaign for the Coca-Cola owned Dr Pepper brand has come under fire.

The campaign, created by digital agency Lean Mean Fighting Machine, allowed them to take over the Facebook status box of users who agreed to take part. And proved a massive success.

However, the promotion backfired when a Mum saw her 14-year-old daughter's Facebook page – or rather the Dr Pepper campaign she had joined – had been updated with a message that made direct reference to a hardcore pornographic film.

So Coca-Cola is now reviewing its relationship with the agency - telling them to stop advertising work on all their brands - despite the fact that they signed off the offending remark. Coca-Cola say they didn't realise its true meaning.

So who's to blame - agency or client?

Update: Since this post, Coca-Cola and Lean Mean Fighting Machine have mutually agreed to part company.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

what do public transport and perfume have in common?

There are few product categories that are highly reliant on brand perceptions. 

They tend to be categories in which the products are essentially frivolous commodities - cigarettes, alcohol, fashion to name a few.

These products are essentially identical and are bought primarily for the image or inferred status they give the buyer.

However, because these products tend to be heavily advertised in a certain way, some public transport marketers think the rules that apply in these categories apply in theirs. They don't.

Monday, 19 July 2010

is this a sign of the times?

Councils around the country are being criticised for replacing traditional boundary signs with new boards that show mission/positioning statements - at a cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Some of the councils and their words of wisdom include;

"Welcome to Tower Hamlets – let's make it happen" introduced at a cost of £29,677

"Welcome to Oldham – many places one destination" (£30,000)

"Hyndburn - an excellent council" (£25,566)

I could understand if the signs were produced with private funding but can't help thinking this 'marketing opportunity' should have stayed just that. More pressing things to spend their money on me thinks.

Read the full story here.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

british designer shows off x-rated rail proposal

A LEADING British transport designer has unveiled his idea of Britain's next-generation high speed train. And boy is it sexy!

The sleek double decker has an 'extreme nose section', and offers many different features on board, including private 'pods' for special purposes.

Paul Priestman was responsible for the design of the Pendolino, and he has given a glimpse into train travel of the future, saying it's a pre-emptive move on his part to persuade the Government of the urgent need to move forward as soon as possible with HS2.

Monday, 12 July 2010

are you hearing voices?

Nottingham City Transport (NCT) have launched a campaign to find two 'voices' for their bus services.

Would-be announcers for service 77 to Strelley and 45 to Netherfield can send in voice recordings to NCT and their suitability assessed. Spokesman Anthony Carver-Smith said: "We're certainly after a quirky local voice, somebody who's got a bit of a bounce in their step. It gives you that reflection of the city.

The new system involves announcing the name of the next stop on the route and the final destination. It aims to help blind or partially-sighted passengers as well as people using a route for the first time.

Anything that makes life easier for passengers to get around by bus should be welcomed. It's about time more company's appreciated that not everyone understands what route the bus will take and what all the stops are called.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

do customers really care?

Recently read a quote from ad legend Lee Clow along the lines of 'most people don't have enough time to interact with their kids, let alone your brand'. This got me thinking.

We recently put together a creative proposal for a well known train company. Their evaluation of previous campaigns showed that customers were not in the slightest bothered about their brand or what it 'stood for on an emotional level'. Couldn't care less. The client wasn't best pleased, we weren't surprised.

The reality is that 99% of consumers have no allegiance to a particular brand or have any attachment to one in the slightest. They buy a product because they always have, it was on offer, a friend told them about it etc - rarely for the reasons marketers hope they do.

Although customers face a choice about whether or not to use the train, they rarely have a choice in which operator they can travel with. Maybe that's the point - no choice, no affinity?

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

is it a bird, is it a plane...

Stagecoach have recently launched a new 'bus' service called CityLink Gold running out of Glasgow, serving both Aberdeen and Inverness.

The service, which predominantly targets shifting business from the train, offers wi-if, leather seats and complimentary snacks/drinks served at seat by a customer host. Fares and journey times on a par with ScotRail services, although the frequency isn't quite there.

The website replicates a 1930s newspaper appearance and perhaps has the overcrowding which is associated with that layout and era. The homepage in particular could have perhaps benefited from more simplicity and a clear hierarchy in where viewer should be directed but overall, quite impressive.

It will be interesting to see how the future communication carries this theme through.

five things that public transport marketing gets wrong

We’ve mentioned before that over 90% of advertising doesn’t work – largely due to a lack of creativity in the execution and poor highlighting of any real benefit in the product. 

The odds are that this percentage is a fair bit higher when it comes to public transport and there are five key reasons why most people ignore what they see about bus and train communication. Put simply, too many TOCs and OPCOs -

1. use free media as opposed to the best media

2. forget that over 15million adults in the UK have literacy level of primary school age

3. sell their brand rather than their product

4. try to please everybody and upset nobody

5. say what they want to say, not what their customers need to know

In our opinion plenty of room for improvement…

Monday, 5 July 2010

are you in the top 40?

Four marketing folk have made in into The New Transit 40 under 40 list, highlighted as 'the young guns who will change the way we travel in the future'.  

Jodine Milne, Adam Rideout  (Stagecoach North East & East respectively), Thomas Ableman (Chiltern) and Chloe Leach (Arriva Yorkshire) have all been put forward as names likely to make a difference over the next few years.

Let's hope that they embrace the fact that people's attitudes to both the bus and train are unlikely to change drastically in a hurry, and concentrating on changing their behaviour is a more rewarding strategy.

The full list of go getter's can be found here.