Titled “Maybe”, the campaign features two separate ads, one for the UK market and the other for France and Belgium. The UK ad focuses on Paris, showing images of real people and places in the city, while ads on the other side of the Channel will showcase London.
Both ads have a similar look and feel and close with the line ‘stories are waiting’, meant as an invite to customers to explore the two cities and create their own memories.
Speaking to Marketing Week, Eurostar’s director of marketing and brand, Lionel Benbassat, said the campaign aims to plug in to the core reasons why people travel: to escape daily life and look for stories to come back and tell their friends and family.
“The essence of what Eurostar does is to inspire connections between people and places. We are a means of communication that is transport.
“With this campaign we wanted to widen that emotional bond and demonstrate what travelling with Eurostar is about, which is making stories and memories that people can share when they come back,” he added.
Benbassat said that Eurostar spoke to its customers for the campaign, finding out about places they had found and people they’d met. It then used these ideas to form the ads, taking footage and images of real people in these locations.
The TV ads, created by AMV BBDO, will run for six weeks from Sunday (20 October). The campaign will be supported through Eurostar’s own ad platforms in stations and ticket offices, social media channels, customer emails and its onboard customer magazine, showcasing the stories behind the ads.
This includes videos that highlight events that visitors to the different cities might not know about, such as the Chaps Olympiad in London and the Nuit Blanche arts festival in Paris. Eurostar will also ask people to share their stories using the hashtags #wheninparis and #wheninlondon, sharing them on its social media pages and the Eurostar.com website. Every week it will pick the best entries who will win tickets on Eurostar and in December it is planning a re-edit of the film with customers’ own stories.
Eurostar reported strong growth over the summer, with sales up 10 per cent year on year to £207m for the three months to the end of September and passenger numbers increasing 5 per cent to 2.7 million. Benbassat says Eurostar is experiencing something of a “halo effect” after the Olympics, with more people now wanting to visit London and international markets growing steadily.
That is why the firm is keen to highlight destinations in its ad campaign. Benbassat said knowledge of the what Eurostar does is very high and so its main competition comes not from lack of people having heard of the service, but from other destinations.
“We want to bring the brand to life and look at what we stand for. We started this journey at the beginning of 2013 and this is the first stance in our brand promise for the next three-to-five years,” he added.
The campaign also sees Eurostar continue its pan-European strategy as a brand that connects the continent’s different cultures. The firm’s marketing teams used to operate separately across its three main markets, but it combined these functions almost two years ago to create a central team.
Benbassat said Eurostar has no plans to go back to its old structure and will continue looking for ways to link British, French and Belgian culture.
“France, the UK and Belgium have much in common. We want to build a heritage and find the commonalities that exist in all these markets,” he added.