The rail industry is aiming to continue its Covid recovery as well as tackle concerns over ongoing industrial action with a rallying cry for consumers to jump aboard a train and experience “the joy and freedom” of being connected to the people and places they love.
The new marketing campaign, entitled “Nothing Beats Being There” and devised by agency Accomplice, is being run by the Rail Delivery Group in collaboration with Britain’s train operating companies, Network Rail and Great British Railways Transition Team.
It is led by a new 30 second TV ad that captures fast-paced, candid scenes of travellers on their journey. Cutting between shared moments onboard, as well as documenting the joy of being at a trip’s destination, the work seeks to boost demand from the leisure, commuter and business market.
Moments that feature include families reuniting; bracing country walks; inspiring trips to a gallery; soaking up tourist sights, surprise visits home and browsing boutiques for interesting finds.
Passengers from all walks of life share laughs and conversations onboard as they take their trip; as well as enjoy hobbies and pastimes; plough through work productively or rest in their own thoughts.
“Nothing Beats Being There” features a mix of cinematic footage, interspersed with user generated content, genuine unscripted interactions among the travelling public as well as actor-led scenes.
Award-winning photographer Sophie Ebrard shot the work after spending five days travelling by train to shoot 72 hours of content. The campaign is directed by Simon Ratigan and set to an energetic and distinctive hard-bass soundtrack, Xanadu by Ummet Ozcan. Media buying is being handled by Spark Foundry.
The campaign seeks to re-ignite demand with lapsed and infrequent travellers and has a wide-reaching media plan covering TV, (Sky, ITV, Channel 4 and Eurosport), video on demand (ITV Hub, All4, Sky and Samsung TV) as well as out of home and digital (Facebook, Instagram and TikTok) in addition to mobile display and gaming executions.
It is being supported by an extensive influencer marketing campaign led by Good Relations, who partnered with 24 creators across Instagram and TikTok to capture a series of inspirational days out to showcase the joy of days out on the train.
The execution is based on the insight that, following a global lockdown, life changed for everyone and even when restrictions were lifted people continued to lean into their digital lives – working, exercising, shopping, meeting and more by means of a screen.
Yet the power of connection is real and vital – where digital creates an illusion of togetherness it does not have the reality or joy of being in the moment physically and emotionally. The campaign launches during a challenging time for Britain’s railways, with changed travel patterns from the pandemic and ongoing disruption from industrial action affecting industry revenue.
Penny Allen, head of marketing strategy at the Great British Railways Transition Team – the organisation tasked with overseeing rail revenue recovery post-pandemic – said: “Our campaign encourages people to use the railways, boosting revenue as well as supporting local economies and encouraging greener travel.
“It is important that this work continues, even around periods of further potential action, to help put industry finances on the best possible footing and secure rail’s long-term future. Consumer research has been extremely positive to the work as it taps into a real appetite to live life fully and a desire to connect.”
“Nothing Beats Being There” follows 2021’s “Let’s Get Back On Track” campaign for the rail industry which drove results of 53% recall (of those for who rail is an option to travel) and 51% response stating that the campaign made people feel more confident to travel again.
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