2019 Marketing Initiative of the Year

Marketing Initiative of the Year sponsored by sponsored by Bus & Coach Buyer

Winner, Gold Award, Stimulating senior bus travel – Stagecoach Yorkshire and partners

Working as part of voluntary Bus Partnerships throughout South Yorkshire, and Stagecoach within Chesterfield, Stagecoach marketers sought to tackle industry wide decline within the senior ENCTS concessionary market. The campaign had three objectives – to encourage people within the target age range (65+) to apply for their senior bus pass, to stimulate those in possession of a pass that didn’t use it to do so, and to stimulate bus users with a pass to do so more often. As a result, South Yorkshire ENCTS pass applications increased 58.6% compared to prior periods and generated 55% new online sessions compared to 6% the previous year. During the campaign and immediately after the rate of decline slowed to 7% compared to 10% recorded in the prior period to the implementation of campaign messages. In Chesterfield, we recorded an increase of 104% in online traffic to the senior pass information compared to the previous year and ENCTS Gold Pass applications increased 14% compared to previous periods. Year on year decline reduced to 1%, compared to 4% in 16/17 and 17/18.

In what the judges described as a good pure marketing entry, this scheme addressed what is a growing potential market, but which was seeing a decline in the number of passengers travelling. Helping with social inclusion as well as creating revenue, the judges particularly liked some of the examples of where to place marketing material for this sector such as chemist bags.

Winner, Silver Award, Explore by Bus – Visit Isle of Wight

Our entry is transforming visitor travel on the Isle of Wight by providing free bus exploration to overnight staying visitors. The project specifically targets visitors which have travelled to the Island with a private car, and – in partnership with a network of hand picked accommodation providers – encourages them to replace a day of car travel with a complimentary day of bus travel. Launched in 2018, the iniative has generated nearly 12000 bus trips, replacing 46,000 private car kilometres and successfully reuniting lapsed customers with high quality bus experiences.

Praised by the judges for how it encouraged modal shift and measured success in terms of car miles saved


Winner, Bronze Award, Cruiselink – Lothian

Lothian have established the Cruiselink bus service to provide a dedicated, direct, quality bus link between Queensferry Hawes Pier and Edinburgh city centre. The bus service, runs all day on cruise days and meets all cruise ships throughout the season. Working with volunteer partners CruiseForth, Lothian have establish relationships within the cruise sector to help promote commercial bus services, improving accesibility for those with reduced mobility and increasing modal shift. Lothian have developed a service, timetable and ticketing products specifically to appeal to the cruise market. In its inagural season Cruiselink carried 50,000 visitors from 25 calling ships, equating to 1/3 of the total capacity of all the cruise ships. Lothian have used the feedback from Supervisors, Drivers, Ticket Sellers and partners CruiseForth to improve the Cruiselink product for the 2019 season. It is the engagement, dedication and flexibilty from this team of people who ensure that we deliver a world class experience for those arriving in Edinburgh on cruise ships.

The judges were impressed with how this company was able to change its operations to be able to respond to a period demand for a large number of vehicles which could easily upset other services.

Highly Commended, People Like You – Brighton & Hove Buses and Metrobus

People Like You has been a hugely effective recruitment campaign, exponentially increasing driver applications and alleviating our driver shortage, by focusing on the humanity and diversity of our amazing drivers and reaching out to the communities we serve. It’s created a buzz around the industry with its simple message: bus drivers come from all walks of life and they all bring different talents to the job. They’re people like you (and me). Our drivers were in it from the get go, as we showcased their interesting hobbies in a photoshoot then filmed them talking about their job. This was transformed into striking creative, bearing slogans such as: ‘drummer, step dad, bus driver’ and ‘scuba diver, music lover, bus driver’. The campaign was specifically designed to show a mix of gender, ethnicity and age and to reflect our on-going commitment to tackling the lack of diversity in the transport industry. Drivers are our heroes and they come from the same communities we serve. This message, and the acccompanying arresting visuals, was splashed across buses on our most high profile routes, on training buses, all over train stations, depots, travel shops and inside our buses with tens of thousands of people seeing them.

Finalist, InterConnect Bus Walks – Stagecoach East Midlands

The InterConnect Bus Walks are seven walks across the Lincolnshire Wolds designed to be accessible by InterConnect services 53, 56 and 100. The project is an on-going collaboration between Stagecoach, Lincolnshire County Council, North East Lincolnshire Council, East Lindsey District Council, West Lindsey County Council, Love Lincolnshire Wolds, the National Trust and the Lincolnshire Ramblers. The walks cater to all ages and abilities; they offer the opportunity to improve health and wellbeing while exploring the Lincolnshire countryside by bus. The leaflets describe in detail each walk, how to get there by bus and highlights points of interest along the way. The InterConnect routes offer a regular service linking towns in the region, the buses in their distinctive purple livery sets them apart from other services, while the design retains the traditional Stagecoach look.

Finalist, Glider – Translink

Northern Ireland’s bus and train public transport provider Translink needed a Marketing/Communications campaign to launch the country’s first ever Rapid Transit Service – Glider. As a brand new mode of travel, Glider would, for the first time, provide direct crosscity bus services connecting east and west Belfast. Translink needed to build public awareness, secure stakeholder support and deliver passenger growth plus increased revenue. Representing government investment of £90 million, Glider is a major development for NI public transport operating in areas previously served by Translink Metro buses. The Glider identity evoked a smooth, calm and effortless sense of movement that complemented striking violet eco-hybrid vehicles and infrastructure; including over 100 new halts, oozing quality, modernity and a touch of cool. Customer experience mapping, contextual studies and situation analysis shaped campaign messaging, identifying Glider Strengths – new modern fleet, faster journeys; Opportunities – cross-city routes bridging cultural divides, supporting social inclusion, reducing congestion; Weaknesses – limited seating, no driver interaction; and Threats – Glider bus lane objections and NI car dependency (>50% travelling into Belfast City Centre at morning peak use car). The first eight months of operation recorded increased passenger figures of 45,000 per week – up 25%.

Finalist, Dragonfly – Uno

The Dragonfly took the very latest in bus design and paired it with a striking brand concept with strong local links. The marketing and public relations activity used engaging digital content that captivated both customers and stakeholders alike. The brand has attracted a staggering 25% more passengers in its first year of operation. Uno Bus invested £1m in 6 new buses in May 2018 for the 610 route serving North London, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield and Luton. Extensive customer research took place and informed product development. They gathered feedback on the internal environment, from the seating through to the floor and wall colours. What followed was a brand development exercise that took historical links from de Havilland, the British aviation manufacturer previously based in Hatfield, and created a bus brand that felt dynamic, fresh and appealed to the student target audience as much as the local community. The team went one step further to bring the brand to life and created a once in a lifetime event. The Dragonfly buses came face to face with their namesake a 1937 de Havilland Dragonfly, the only flyable de Havilland left in the UK.

Finalist, It’s easy as 1, 2, 3! – Yellow Buses

Following a number of changes to the Yellow Bus network during 2016/2017 the number of passengers that the business was carrying across the network was declining and staff morale was worsening. The business had to take action. After listening to extensive feedback from passengers and the local community, we revised and rebranded our entire network. This was communicated to passengers and other stakeholders through an extensive marketing campaign titled ‘Easy as 1, 2, 3’ to show that the changes were positive and had simplified the process of catching the bus, and delivered a network that could sustain and grow the recognition of the company within the town. Our already bright yellow fleet became more colourful as bespoke colour and route branding was introduced on all vehicles, allowing passengers to spot their buses easier, whilst also allowing us to give customised and tailored information on frequency and destinations that would be relevant to users of the services. The campaign was carried out with the use of integrated marketing communications plan that allowed for strong results and a strong development of our brand image and positioning with our passengers.

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