Stagecoach v NCT, battle of the Facebook videos

Earlier today I read the latest blog post from Matt Harrison, on his Transport Designed blog.

Matt has recently moved to the much-lauded Transdev operation, where he has taken up a post in the Marketing and Comms team. He talks a lot of sense on his blog but I think he's been a bit extreme with his respective criticism and praise of the two Facebook videos below.

Firstly, exhibit A by Stagecoach, which Matt slates pretty strongly - "Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear."

Secondly, there's exhibit B by NCT, which gets heaps of praise - "This video is a marketer’s dream"

Comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges.

The Stagecoach video is trying to get people to change their travel habits and is a piece of advertising aimed at non-bus users. Whether or not you like the idea and execution is subjective, but the video has been created with a specific objective in mind.

The NCT video is interesting to those who are into statistics and images of buses moving forward and backwards. It doesn't give a reason for the casual viewer to get the bus over any form of transport and is essentially a PR exercise. It's most definitely one for the enthusiasts.

One is selling, one is informing and neither could do the job of the other effectively yet both are part of the traditional marketing mix.

In his critique, Matt falls into the classic marketer's trap of citing views as a gauge of success/effectiveness - "In little over one day (at the time of posting), this video alone had already amassed 32,000 views – compared to Stagecoach’s paltry 3,000 for ‘bus people’, which has already been online for well over a week."

The success depends on what the objectives were in the first place - one video seems to have the brief of selling bus travel to people who don't get the bus, the other a brief of getting people who are interested in buses to tune in and share with their friends.

Neither is worthy of the extreme praise and criticism offered.


  1. With the greatest of respect guys - and with the caveat of being the author of the article in question - I wholeheartedly disagree with you here.

    I think the difficulty comes with what one might define as ‘marketing’. There’s no question that the Stagecoach video is marketing, agreed - trying to sell the idea of bus travel to non-bus users.

    But I disagree that the NCT video is for transport nerds and those who are only interested in counting rivets and fawning over the delights of the bus wash. Given that it was created by NCTs marketing team firstly, I’d probably argue that’s evidence enough to suggest the intended nature of the video. I’d also argue that educational though it is, we have many other forms of informational media - such as infographics - which are both useful, provide visual delight and are designed to sell something, however -un-salesy’ it may appear.

    This is called content marketing. It’s answering questions which the potential customer often didn’t even know they had.

    In my article, I didn’t state anything about page views as a measure of success, rather a statement of fact at the time. Like most marketers, I know views don’t automatically equal sales. A strong call to action generates sales - of which neither video does particularly well at all.

    One thing that marketers are often asked to do is to prove their ROI - the return on the time and money they’ve spent on the piece of content in question. Page views are one piece of this - shares, retweets, likes, the social reach of the post - call it what you will, but it’s one measure in the ROI-proving arsenal.

    And although the NCT video doesn’t have any particularly appealing call to action contained within, it does offer the casual viewer an insight into life ‘behind the scenes’. It’s got people talking - and sharing. It’s installed a little piece of knowledge in the mind of the viewer - whether they like buses, hate them, or generally don’t give a flying toss about them.

    I think the NCT video is content marketing at its best.

    1. Hi Matt,

      Cheers for the comment. I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one I'm afraid - the joys of having strong opinions on both our parts!

      Keep up the good work on the blog.



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