Virgin Trains makes the most of gridlocked UK roads


We don’t usually do “info posters,” out of home installations that give you information because, well, there are so many of them.

But Virgin Trains, Anomaly and media agency Manning Gottlieb are running a campaign telling motorists how much quicker the train is that certainly strikes a chord as it’s becoming almost impossible to drive anywhere in the UK. Roadworks are everywhere (London’s Soho these days is a patchwork of holes held together by a few bits of concrete.) I was stuck on London’s North Circular road for nearly two hours early last Saturday morning (early!) as they’d decided to dig up and close the big Staples corner roundabout at the end of the M1. Was there any notification on the AI approach road to the North Circular? Er, no.

The Virgin campaign uses real time traffic data collected by QDOT and signage by Grand Visual to remind unfortunate drivers how much better off they’d be on a train (which have their moments too, of course, not to mention the vast expense if you don’t book three months in advance.)

Virgin Trains marketing director Katie Knowles says: “Integrating real-time data feeds into this roadside campaign produces a clear and hard-hitting message for drivers – that Virgin Trains is a quick, easy and viable alternative. During peak travel times when congestion is heavy, the live stats deliver our message in a compelling and impactful way.”

Grand Visual CTO Dan Dawson says: “Clever use of data provides a powerful call to action for using Virgin Trains. The campaign is constantly updated throughout the day providing useful, relevant, real-time information. You can’t argue with stats like that.”

Indeed. Wouldn’t it be better, though, if things worked?

MAA creative scale: 8.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.