Challenge

Aside from internal competition, the bus industry faces a number of external threats such as the emergence of Uber.

A number of different pass names are used across various regions, including termrider, unirider, studentrider and collegerider. There are also regional differences in the pass durations and number of passes available within any particular area. Plus, we had to consider multiple audiences with both students and parents involved in influencing and purchasing decisions.

This complexity requires a highly flexible creative framework and messaging that can be adapted to multiple scenarios including a core national marketing campaign as well as a template-driven approach to supporting regional activity.

Direction

After some earlier briefing sessions, the creative process kicked off with a half day workshop involving the Stagecoach UK Bus marketing team, their propositions manager, media agency (Carat) and ourselves.

Carat presented significant research into the impact of the 2018 campaign (media and creative) as we debated the strengths and weaknesses of the incumbent creative. Through interactive sessions, we then shaped an approach to our various audiences and prioritised messaging accordingly.

Our creative brief playback captured the following campaign proposition: with the best value bus travel we connect you with the student community.

Creative

Adhering to new brand principles but given license to push the boundaries of existing identity guidelines we developed four creative concepts to test with students in both a focus group setting and through online surveys.

The overwhelming favourite route and therefore chosen creative concept hinged around the notion of ‘For whatever’s on your timetable’. The visual illustrative treatment and polished copy always presenting a beautiful juxtaposition between a typical day (or night) in the life of a student. For example, flat white on campus or flat out at the gym?

The national marketing campaign went live in August 2019.

Trusted

Our national student campaign is a key piece of activity in our annual marketing calendar – both at group and regional level. It’s an evolving and increasingly difficult audience to reach, given rapidly changing media consumption habits. Creative needs to always be on point and flexible enough to resonate with students from college age through to parents.
Working with Studio North is a joy because they get us and our challenges. Easy to deal with yet always in control, no matter how complex the audience, message or media schedule. Their clearly rationalised creative ideas, obsessive attention to detail and ability to consistently deliver under pressure makes them a perfect agency partner especially for significant campaign activity.
Lynne Harrop, Head of Marketing and Customer Experience, Stagecoach
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