Chiltern Railway’s summer campaign is their biggest opportunity to drive awareness of the brand at a time when families and leisure travellers have more free time. Summer is a time for people to get out and about, and more specifically, for this brief, to enjoy a day out in London. The brief to us was simple: encourage leisure travel from Oxford and West Midlands to London this summer, increasing PAX & revenue. 


Desktop research using a mix of research studies, mother & child groups and forums and school advisory services, as well as Google Trends, Google search data and social listening, found that not only do parent dread summer holiday time but they start planning ahead for it as early as March.


Coming at the brief from a travel angle, as opposed to a pure transport one, we split the campaign down into three core phases; Dream, Plan & Book, aimed at nudging the audience along in the moments that matter, allowing for impact across the entire user journey. 


Inspire new travellers en-masse via longform storytelling, landing the feeling of the campaign message, Free-Range Travel, both aurally and visually. Radio played the role of hero channel, taking learning’s from the latest round of econometrics, using a multi-platform approach, and creating bespoke content to encourage each of the distinct audiences to engage with the campaign and hero characters  AV environments which naturally Inspire were used including Instagram and YouTube. We used short, snappy, 6 & 15 second videos (in line with evolving user behaviour) showcasing the brand whilst the user was in casual, passive mode via programmatic video and high impact HPTO / skins, really grabbing attention. Data usage was key at each phase of the journey. In this phase, whilst we wanted to reach as large an audience as possible, we also wanted to ensure audience relevance. Using geographic, demographic and behavioural data we were able to identify those individuals most relevant to the service and the specific products which required promotion.


Help the audience make informed ‘how to get there’ decisions with high impact familiarity media in contextually relevant areas, introducing product led messaging. In this phase we leaned heavily on DOOH in proximity to competitor locations, ensuring when people were in travel mode, they had an association with Chiltern. In this phase, we were able to connect Chiltern’s owned CRM and CAMEO data with the Facebook, Google and DSP platforms to personalize our messaging whilst allowing for finely tuned audience / custom segments to be built. We targeted highly competitive areas where Chiltern were not the sole, or even first choice travel solution, using geo-fencing technology across digital channels (including audio) to ensure our message was seen and heard by a highly relevant audience to increase Chiltern’s share. High impact expandable digital formats were used to give users the opportunity to build their own trips, depending on their needs.


Ensure the brand is visible in active booking moments, harvesting the interest driven via Dream & Plan activity, encouraging direct digital bookings by upweighting our work horse Always On digital activity, targeting both demographically and geographically, and retargeting from previous phases. 


Working towards a pre-agreed measurement framework, the campaign was evaluated based on relevant metrics across each of the stages in the journey to show the true impact to the business. Post the summer campaign we reported;

·       The highest ever London Family Travelcard ticket sales of any summer holiday period

·       A 24% YOY uplift in sales – remarkable for a campaign running new creative over an incredibly congested time of year

·       Digital activity delivered 27.3m impressions (including 15.6m views of our video content!)

·       Post-campaign research showed record-high brand likeability (81%), positivity (77%), and salience (70%) as well as the largest ever jump in brand consideration from 45% in March to 54 in September.

YOY uplift in sales
YOY uplift in sales
YOY uplift in sales


TRAVEL FREE-RANGE (Creative/ Media/ Fluent Device)

How we helped take the drudgery and panic out of planning for school summer holidays

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