V/line Case study GUILT TRIPS by McCann Erickson Melbourne

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Industry Transport, travel & tourism
Media Case study
Market Australia
Agency McCann Erickson Melbourne
Director Damien Toogood
Creative Director Annie Price
Art Director Pat Baron, Matt Stoddart
Copywriter Tristan Graham, John Mescall, Natasha Wood
Designer Melody Yeung, Dave Budd
Producer Cinnamon Darvall
Released May 2013


Cannes Lions, 2014

Credits & Description

Type of entry: Product & Service
Category: Travel, Entertainment & Leisure
Advertiser: V/LINE
Product/Service: V/LINE
Executive Creative Director: John Mescall (McCann)
Creative Director: Annie Price (McCann)
Creative Director: Pat Baron (McCann)
Art Director: Matt Stoddart (McCann)
Copywriter: Natasha Wood (McCann)
Copywriter: Tristan Graham (McCann)
Group Account Director: Adrian Mills (McCann)
Account Director: Alec Hussain (McCann)
Senior Account Manager: Tamara Broman (McCann)
Designer: Dave Budd (McCann)
Designer: Melody Yeung (McCann)
Creative Technologist: Ash Pegram (McCann)
Developer: Cayne Snowden (McCann)
Developer: Rod Levinton (McCann)
Senior Producer: Mark Bradley (McCann)
Producer: Cinnamon Darvall (McCann)
Director: Damien Toogood (Come To Mama)
Art Director: Pat Baron (McCann)
Copywriter: John Mescall (McCann)
Strategy: Adrian Mills (McCann)
Describe the brief from the client
Regional train operator V/Line is at full capacity during peak commuting hours. But, it’s a very different picture during off-peak hours. V/Line wanted to drive growth in their Visting Family and Friends segment in off-peak times, by encouraging family and friends of country people currently residing in the city of Melbourne, to take a train home for a visit.
As such, success would be judged on:
• A 5% uplift in ticket sales over the campaign period of six months
• Increase in consideration leading to purchase of 10%
Creative Execution
What was vital to our strategy was the insight that we weren’t asking these people to simply take a train trip, we were asking them to leave their new lives, their new friends and get on a train to travel hundreds of kilometers to see someone they otherwise weren’t planning on seeing. This, we realised, was quite a lot for traditional advertising campaign to do.
To achieve our objectives, we needed to give people a reason to visit the country. Something to overcome a significant inertia. We knew it couldn't be an ad, so we invented a new product.

Creative Solution to the Brief/Objective.

We needed a 5% lift in sales but quickly realised advertising alone wasn't going to be sufficient. Our solution to the business problem wasn’t to advertise the trains, but rather create a new product to advertise – The Guilt Trip. A prepaid ticket that came with a guilt inducing message that parents could use to shame their children into coming home. The campaign used print and radio advertising, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube to drive parents to the Guilt Trips website, where they could send automatically generated, or personalised guilt inducing EDM's as well as pre-paid tickets to their children.


We targeted a 5% lift. We hit 15% (V/Line sales data).
With a modest budget, the campaign performed brilliantly. 8 months since launch, total off-peak monthly sales have risen an average 15% and continue to thrive beyond the campaign without additional promotion (V/Line sales data). In 8 months, the campaign had sold an additional 160,000 tickets. An impressive result considering the experience of V/Line travel hadn’t really changed at all.
Additionally, consideration during campaign activity also increased with call center enquiries for VFF travel increasing on average 28% (V/Line Sales Data).