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LNER paints a rosy picture of train travel with new mascot Eleanor

Any public/private service in the UK is asking for trouble just now with the current post Office scandal the most high profile of many instances of such companies/bodies spectacularly failing to deliver.

The UK’s train services are hardly the model of anything, the result of a botched privatisation 30 years ago by John Major’s government.

LNER, the old East coast mainline and for years the jewel in the crown from London via York to Edinburgh, fell on hard times too with Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC) returning it to the Government after financial losses and their corollary, a rotten service.

Now there’s new entity LNER in charge, handed a controversial long term franchise.

And it all looks pretty good here: lots of room, tables rather than being crammed in airline style, even refreshments. And there’s room for animated mascot, Eleanor, to bob around showing it all off in a new campaign from M&C Saatchi.

Is it really as good as this? See Trip Advisor for less rosy views.

LNER head of marketing John Galloway says: “We’re proud to unveil our new campaign, which reflects our new and improved customer experience and showcases a more modern brand and visual identity. Eleanor encapsulates the freedom of doing whatever it is you want to do when travelling on an LNER train.”

M&C ECD Matt Lee says: “We’re delighted to launch this campaign, featuring a show-stopping performance from Eleanor, who simply points out all the things you can do on an LNER train.”

Marketing execs are optimists by nature (at least they have to sound like one.) But a cuddly mascot isn’t going to escape the accusation of over-claiming. Thames Water, if you recall, wanted to run a debut campaign from VCCP with Brian the Otter but he’s still skulking in his lair (or wherever otters skulk.)

Adam&eveDDB, which depicted the reality of train travel in its last National Lottery film (the two protagonists had to sit on the floor) took a more cunning route in its work for GWR, depicting a clearly fictional West Country vision in Enid Blyton pastel shades.

So, this one?

Suspension of disbelief is still suspended.

MAA creative scale: 4.

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