'Great marketing only makes a bad product fail faster' is a quote from advertising guru David Ogilvy, and it's one that's relevant to both the current bus driver shortage and the time of year.
Bus companies traditionally ramp up their marketing efforts in the six weeks before Xmas, trying to entice people on board when festive drinks, a night out or a meal with friends is planned. It might be one of the few prime opportunities the company gets to sell their product to potential customers who might otherwise, throughout the rest of the year, dismiss it.
But this year for many (probably all) bus companies their priorities lie elsewhere. There's not much point in busting a gut trying to get people onto services only for those product promises not to materialise.
A lack of drivers means fewer services which renders timetables pretty meaningless. Chuck in the odd price increase too and it's not a great situation to find yourself in.
If I was the brand manager for a product that had those current credentials, I'd be telling the ad agency to lie low for a while.
The marketing guys need a product to sell, and without drivers, they are up sh*t creek without a paddle.
Fare changes and essential stuff - yep, they should communicate that, but what's the point in trying to flog a product that, in the very short term at least, is pretty broken? For some, it's a hard enough sell even when it's working well.
Shift all that marketing money into recruiting drivers.
Spend every penny trying to sort the big elephant in the room and then your team will be back having something great to sell.