Friday, 26 April 2013

Stagecoach to launch brand

Stagecoach has confirmed it will launch a network of overnight sleepercoach services from Scotland to London this summer - to be operated under a new brand.

A novel feature of the coaches is that the 53 leather seats can be converted into 42 lie-flat beds (not sure how that works if you have 53 passengers). The launch of the new sleepercoach network follows the success of a pilot route between Glasgow and London using refurbished articulated coaches fitted with bunk beds.

Customers will be able to make the trip from both Edinburgh and Glasgow to London in less than eight hours. Fares will range from £15 to £60, with journey times comparable to existing sleeper train services.

Passengers will receive complimentary refreshments during their journey as well as a sleeper kit which includes an eye mask, a toothbrush and toothpaste. In addition, as a pilot, they will also be given a choice of a blanket or a one-piece bodysuit to sleep in during their journey.

Stagecoach Group chief executive Brian Souter says: “It used to be just popstars that had beds on board their tour buses – now everyone can benefit from a comfortable, great value overnight journey. You can go to sleep in one city and wake up in another ready to start the day without having to pay extra for an expensive hotel room.”

With the Stagecoach Gold brand being at the top end of the market and the megabus brand the bottom, it will be interesting to see how they position and market the product.

If the website is anything to go by, the top end it is.

Story taken from

Thursday, 25 April 2013

does your brand 'do' spontaneous?

Some of the best things in life aren't planned, aren't part of a long-term strategy, they're just done with a spontaneous excitement. 

The ad on the right from The Guardian is one such example.

Raising awareness of the paper's soon-to-be-published look at Mrs T's life, it's a simple representation of the effect her time at Number 10 had on the general public - people either loving her or hating her.

Yet the real point is the way the paper reacted to what was happening around them to do such a great piece of topical work with such a speedy turn around. From concept board to print in 48 hours, reactionary not planned.

How many of you can say you've done that? Reacted to something that was happening in your environment and quickly produced a piece of relevant, on-brand communication.

Virgin Trains did it a while ago with reference to Robbie Keane's short stay at Liverpool FC but apart from that I'm struggling.

The ash cloud in 2010 was a perfect opportunity for long distance TOCs and the likes of Eurostar to go on the offensive and take advantage of the competitions' misfortune. Did they do it? Not that I saw.

Maybe being spontaneous didn't fit in their strategy.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

tv advertising at its memorable best

Every so often on this blog we come across a piece of work that makes us think 'I wish we'd done that'.

This 30 second ad for American brand kmart is one such example. Great idea, well written and very, very funny. Not only that, but like all great advertising, its language is instantly memorable.

So do you give a ship? You should.


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

do you make decisions like Maggie?

As I'm sure you are aware the funeral of Baroness Thatcher took place recently.

Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, she was laid to rest after a passing away aged 87. And as the media scrum that followed her death was testimony, it was fair to say opinion on her tenure was divided.

People either loved her or hated her. What they rarely did was sit on the fence when questioned about her.

In my opinion what drove people to be so passionate about Mrs T was that fact she wasn't afraid to make big decisions reflecting her belief in some key areas.

She knew what she was doing wouldn't please everybody, but in her elected opinion, what she was doing was the right thing for the country as a whole.

And this links nicely to brands, marketing and marketers these days. Those in all industries, not just public transport.

It is rare that you will find someone that will take the bull by the horns and make a key decision without getting input from the world and his wife. Someone that has a clear understanding of the brand they represent, what it stands for, and whether new work they see is right for their audience.

Someone who will say use it or bin it. Someone who knows that decision by committee leads to a vanilla perception - marketing that nobody thinks is brilliant, nobody thinks is appalling, but everyone thinks is 'alright'.

Margaret Thatcher didn't want to be 'alright' and neither should you.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

can you do The Bluestar?

When you're waiting for the bus do you...

Read a book? Watch the world go by? Strike up conversation with the person next to you? Or maybe if you're in Eastleigh, Hants waiting for a Bluestar bus with your headphones on, you might just do a little jig to pass the time.

Like this lady. 100,000 views on YouTube and counting.



Wednesday, 3 April 2013

would you choose tv advertising over on-line?

Would you go for TV over online advertising any day of the week?

Be honest, given the budget and time would like to do some TV advertising to help sell your product? Or do you think it is a bit old-fashioned in today's 'on-line' is king world?

Here are some hard nosed facts about both sides of the story.
  • 99.9% of people who are served an online display ad do not click on it.
  • TV viewership is now at its highest point ever.
  • 96% of all retail activity is done in a store. 4% is done on-line.
  • Owners of digital video recorders (DVR) watch live TV 95% of the time. 5% of the time they watch recorded material.
  • 99% percent of all video viewing is done on a television. 1% is done on-line.
  • The difference in purchasing behaviour between people who use DVRs to skip ads, and those who don’t: None.
  • Since the 1990s, click-through rates for banner ads have dropped 97.5%.
  • Since the introduction of TiVo/Sky+, real time TV viewing has increased over 20%.
  • Baby boomers dominate 94% of all consumer packaged goods categories. 5% of advertising is aimed at them.
  • TV viewers are no more likely to leave the room during a commercial break than they are before or after the break.
Still think 'on-line' is king? Me thinks you should maybe think again.

Courtesy of the Ad Contrarian

we put a smile into bus driver recruitment

A while ago on this blog we wrote a story about the lack of investment in the creative side of bus driver recruitment.

"Why are some clients happy just to resize the same old bus driver ad time after time? How many times do you see the 'Bus drivers wanted, £8 an hour, free uniform...etc' appearing in the press? Can't they take a leaf out of other areas of the business, and be more creative?"

You can read the whole moan here.

One client must have been reading our minds, as shortly after, a juicy recruitment brief from First in the west country landed on our desks.

The objective of the campaign was to flip the traditional 'job title, hourly rate etc' approach to advertising in favour of something more engaging and refreshing. They wanted the work to appeal to people who hadn't necessarily thought of driving a bus for a living but enjoyed working with people, and could transfer those skills.

If all the applicants were good with people, then that's great start to become a modern day bus driver for one of the industry's leading operators.

Everyone knows that drivers get a bad rap in the industry, and quite often, justifiably so. At least this client has realised that if you want something to change, it might have to be you that does the changing.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

First Great Western smell something fishy

You've got to admire a client when they decide to do something totally different.

Take First Great Western. Rather than producing a set of press or poster adverts to promote the various destinations in the South West of the UK reachable by their services, they commissioned something a little more engaging - a culinary guidebook by restaurateur and chef Mitch Tonks.

"The book entitled 'My Little Black Book of Seafood] was put together so people could pick it up on the train and work out how to go and eat some of the best seafood on the planet," says Tonks (who owns seafood restaurants in Dartmouth and Bristol) of the project which he conceived together with First Great Western. 

The train company then approached The Leith Agency to develop the concept.

As well as designing and producing the book, Leith commissioned CIA illustrator Jill Calder to inject the project with no small amount of charm through a host of illustrations and hand drawn type which appear throughout the handy tome.

My Little Black Book of Seafood by Mitch Tonks costs a mere £1.50 and is available from the Express CafĂ© onboard any First Great Western train. In a rather nice touch, all proceeds go to The Fisherman's Mission, a charity which provides support and care to fishermen and their families.

You can also view the book digitally online here.

Credit goes to client, agency and illustrator alike for producing a great piece of innovative work.

Story taken from Creative Review.