The service starts up on 14 September and marketing communications for the iconic US brand will focus on the service, including enhanced leg room and free wi-fi, rather than the budget pricing for the service.
The launch campaign embraces outdoor, press and online activity, including a social networking campaign. The marketing has been devised by Start Creative, who won the business after a pitch overseen by FirstGroup group brand marketing manager Avril Gill.
The 11 coaches launched in the UK all carry the names of women from popular American songs, such as Jolene, Peggy Sue and Sweet Caroline.
The UK branding is based on the recently introduced brand in the US and was developed by transport design specialist agency Lawrence and Pierce.
FirstGroup will initially launch the service on two routes, from London to Southampton and London to Portsmouth. Greyhound UK managing director Alex Warner explained that these routes were chosen because of the high degree of traffic between the destinations from students, sports fans and others seeking access to the south coast. The company expects the service to be attractive “to a young demographic profile that is media and technologically savvy.”
FirstGroup chief executive Sir Moir Lockhead said that the company was not looking to take share from rival coach operators, such as National Express or MegaBus, but to persuade car drivers to look at the alternatives.
The fares will be yield-managed and start at one pound, with web bookings not rising higher than £10. Walk on fares will be available.
FirstGroup will evaluate the performance of the initial routes with a view to rolling out the service next year.
The Greyhound brand is 95 years old and was acquired by FirstGroup in 2007 from Laidlaw International.