Major network improvements had left Manchester’s trams unable to travel though the City Centre for most of the year, driving many frustrated commuters back into the habit of travelling by car. As the works finally drew to completion, we needed to make sure we got them back – as well as inspiring a new wave of commuters to try the tram.
Simply hearing that the network is back on track will not be enough to break them out of their cars. Instead, highlight the benefits of tram commuting versus the car – more time for you, and a more enjoyable commute.
We created an integrated campaign telling the story of a ‘breakup’ through a first-person narrative. It’s built to reveal that Adam, our hero, was leaving his car, to rekindle his love for the tram. The campaign kicked off with teaser ads that pointed to a web address with Adam’s breakup video. The reveal came a week later, with the landing page reskinned and rebranded Metrolink, complete with reasons to travel and more funny video content showing what Adam got up to on the tram.
The key message for this campaign was to let customers and the people of Manchester know that the summer blockades, which impacted part of the Metrolink network during tram line works, had come to an end.
However, in order to deliver it, there was a big communications hurdle to overcome: Who wants to listen to service announcements from a public transport company? No one.
Standard service channels weren’t going to help us cut through. We had to develop an integrated marketing strategy to reconnect with those people who had abandoned the tram during the summer service disruption. With this in mind, we took inspiration from guerrilla marketing to create an unbranded teaser campaign to pique people’s curiosity, and land the key message in an engaging way.
An integrated marketing campaign with a twist
The campaign began by targeting commuters with digital out of home at six strategic positions on the main arterial routes into the city. These are congested commuter routes with plenty of dwell time for motorists stuck in the morning traffic. The outdoor marketing was supported by digital ad vans in wider catchment areas, plus promoted social marketing posts and digital banners. They pointed the audience in the direction of a website that housed Adam’s break-up video; a landing page without any Metrolink branding.
The second phase of the campaign saw the ‘reveal’ and the release of rich content, driven primarily by social video and supported by a dedicated website, this time complete with Metrolink branding.
The additional videos featured Adam in different scenarios on the tram to show benefits of both peak and off-peak tram travel in warm and funny ways. It was in this phase that the supporting messages drew a direct comparison with the advantages of the tram travel over other forms of travel into the city.
How we left Lauren but delivered multichannel results
In the space of just a few days from the launch of the outdoor campaign, the teaser video had received over 12,000 organic views on YouTube. Articles about the ‘break up posters’ featured in regional press and sparked hundreds of discussions across social media.
By the end of the marketing period, there had been over 750,000 views of the Leaving Lauren videos, whilst social listening and sentiment monitoring revealed an overwhelmingly positive response. Results for promoted social and digital marketing exceeded expectations for both engagement and Click Through Rates (CTRs), with a series of autoplay video clips achieving engagement rates six times what was forecast with CTRs running 240% higher than projected.
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