Thursday, 18 February 2016

our fresh new look for Tillingbourne Buses

here's what they used to look like
our 2016 rebrand
This month we have created a fresh new look for Tillingbourne Buses in Surrey.

When imagining a new identity and livery design for Tillingbourne, we started where its founders began 92 years ago.

Tillingbourne is a bus company that owes its name to the local river — The Tilling Bourne — so it seemed fitting to take inspiration from the waterways. Unfortunately, when it came to the name itself, it came across as an awkward mouthful – and definitely something that users were unlikely to say in full.

Abbreviating to just TBC was something we considered initially (and subsequently rejected for being too corporate), so shortening it to a more user-friendly ‘tilling bus’ was decided on to help the project move on.

The identity itself comes in the form of a strong lower case ‘t’ shape — a graphic that has been crafted to flow like the river by which it is influenced. The chosen typeface has a nice balance of softened edges to complement the livery but not so much so that it looks too comical or would lose legibility when scaled.

Monday, 15 February 2016

pushing the boundaries within the bus industry

Transdev has recently relaunched their 36 service travelling between Ripon, Harrogate and Leeds.

From what we can gather, the service has remained largely unchanged, and it was the buses themselves that hit the headlines and caused a stir.

According to the company's website the £235k buses have -

'Free superfast 4G wifi. USB power points at every single seat. Double glazing to give you a better view. Plush, leather coach seats upstairs with personal tables and quilted leather seats with a chill-out area downstairs.

A glazed roof, as let's face it, it's better to stare at the stars and sky than at a ceiling. New next stop audio and visual info screens, featuring the voice of everyones favourite Harry Gration. Contactless payments for easy ticket buying. And, Library 36 where you can bring, take and swap books for your journey.'

When you consider the bus hasn't really moved on for a good few years, this is progress indeed.

But current and potential passengers need more - the former need to be kept, and the latter attracted.

The bus industry (service operators and manufacturers) need to be constantly pushing the boundaries of technology and customer experience - in exactly the same way as the car companies do on a daily basis. They know if they snooze, they lose, and customers will quickly spend their £30k with a rival. They spend a massive proportion of their annual budgets on research and development to ensure they are ahead of the game, making their cars as appealing as possible.

From speaking to clients, it seems the bus industry has a lot to learn. No one company seems to want the take the bull by the horns and really challenge their manufacturer to make a ground breaking bus that will revolutionise the industry.

Contactless charging? Why not. Digital advertising in cove spaces? Of course sir. All it needs is one trail blazer to prove that such things can be done cost effectively, and I'm pretty convinced that the herd will follow.

Then those benefits will become the norm, so the strive for improvement continues. Constantly looking for, and very importantly implementing, changes to 'the bus' as we know it.

a little Monday morning on-bus advertising inspiration

I'm sure some of these ads have done the rounds before but it's amazing what a little creative thinking can achieve for your clients.

It gives agencies the chance to show what can be done on the side/rear of a bus, and shows bus companies what happens if you're happy to let a little contravision on board.

No pun intended.

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Friday, 12 February 2016

are you employing advertising 'technicians'?

This is the letter written by Bill Bernbach, when he resigned from New York ad agency Grey in 1947.

Whilst many people in the industry today will try to argue against what he says, the guy knew what he was on about. 

The creative department he moulded produced ad campaigns for VW, Avis and American Airlines (among others) and the work was directly responsible for growing them into the huge corporations they are today. They created great ads, the best ads in the world at the time, but the ads also sold product by the bucket load.

As Bill says, advertising isn't science, it's an art.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

East Midlands Trains and their latest TV ad

It looks like East Midlands Trains have become the first train company of 2016 to launch an ad campaign on TV.

The title of the campaign is “Trains on the outside, people on the inside”, and is designed to raise awareness of the company's friendly characteristics and its strong customer service focus.

The first advert, which aired for the first time on 3 February, covers a true story involving Customer Relations Officer, Gemma, from Derby. It tells how a small boy who had left his teddy on a train whilst on a visit to see his Granny and Grandad was very upset.

Despite her best attempts, Gemma was unable to track down the missing teddy, but had a brainwave (her own child had the same teddy at home that wouldn’t be missed), so she took it up on herself to post the teddy to the child with a postcard saying how much teddy had enjoyed his holidays!

As well as the animated TV adverts, there will be billboards across Sheffield, Derby, Leicester and Nottingham, posters at stations, direct mail and a social media campaign. The campaign also highlights how easy it is to contact East Midlands Trains through their 24/7 Derby based customer contact centre.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Virgin Trains are spreading the love this Valentine's Day

Considering all train operators have a very similar asset at their disposal, it is somewhat surprising that the same company keeps coming up with different ways to sell their travel experience.

That company is Virgin Trains.

This time they've teamed up with Fred Sirieix, maitre-d' of the restaurant on Channel 4's First Dates programme, offering 24 tickets for single people to travel with them on Valentine's Day.

According to the company's website 'This unique experience at 125mph will set your heart racing. Playing cupid, Fred will guide you on a journey of love up our beautiful east coast route with a fabulous dinner – throwing in a few party games and teasers to break the ice.

Rather than put all your eggs in one basket too early, single travellers will switch seats throughout the journey, meeting plenty of potential suitors. Our First Class carriage will be decked out with red roses, romantic music and prosecco to set the mood. Sit back, relax and get on board for a chance at finding love.'

Good idea and great bit of PR - which makes me wonder why didn't someone else think if it? Why is it the same company coming up with these ideas time after time?

I guess that's what makes one train company different to another, and one the most memorable too.