London Midland launch their first ever TV advert

Well thought out, well executed TV ads for train companies are as rare as hen's teeth.

Thinking about it, TV ads for trains companies in general are pretty rare - with only ScotRail and TransPennine Express springing to mind. Maybe it's because ads are usually shown by region on the commercial networks or the money involved to get an initial idea through to something tangible on our screens is too large. Either way it doesn't seem the preferred choice of most TOCs.

It will only seem like yesterday to many that Jimmy Saville was constantly on our screens promising that 'this is the age of the train' on behalf of British Rail. With only one channel showing adverts and the likes of Coronation Street getting 20m plus viewers, it was the only real above-the-line platform and therefore widely used.

So what about the London Midland work? It's fair to say they are one the more pro-active operators when it comes to marketing having won “Marketing Campaign of the Year” at the Rail Business Awards for the last three years, so they should be congratulated for the foray into TV.

Looking at the ad in isolation, the price promotion is clearly introduced through the voice-over, the scenes show the benefits of train travel (linking up with friends, visiting cities etc) through identifiable characters and there is a simple call to action. One point to make is that '50% off' is great if you know what the price was in the first place, so maybe some sample fares could have been included so customers can see if the offer represents value for money? 

All in all, kudos should go to London Midland for daring to be different. Credit to the agency for the idea and the client for buying it.

However, is it different enough to be memorable when the kids are fighting, the dog is barking and you've only got three minutes to make a brew before your favourite programme starts again?

Only time will tell.


  1. Have you really forgotten Richard Branson dressed up as a trolley driver for Virgin Trains, Southern's mad Mexican telling you how to avoid queues and East Coast's miniature prices? All on TV in the last three years.
    As for Jimmy Saville - yesterday was 1982!


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