Virgin Rail has handed Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe the 5m brief to launch its telephone booking centre and promote the InterCity West Coast and Cross Country Trains rail services.
Rainey Kelly won the account after Virgin sent out a written brief to eight agencies, understood to include Doner Cardwell Hawkins, HHCL & Partners, Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters and Barkers. Virgin Rail’s commercial director, Dominic Ryan, says the company had intended to draw up a shortlist but decided instead to go with ideas developed by Rainey Kelly.
The agency’s first task will be the May launch of the Virgin call centre in Edinburgh, which will eventually employ as many as 1,000 people to book tickets for Virgin and other rail services.
Virgin is now the UK’s largest rail operator. It won the franchise to run the InterCity service in January and decided to merge it with the Cross Country franchise it picked up last November. InterCity’s advertising account was held by Doner Cardwell Hawkins, which ran a press, poster and television campaign featuring the Mr Men cartoon characters.
Ryan says it will take two years to upgrade the rail services to the standard expected of a Virgin company.