Why Megabus looked to change its brand perception and target a new, older audience

By Awards Analyst | The Drum Awards

June 15, 2022 | 3 min read

Tin Man and Megabus won in the Automotive and Transport category at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2022 with its ‘The Grand Reunion’ campaign. Here, we find out more about what went into this successful project...

Megabus is known for its £1 journeys and ‘Sid the Quid’ character, but it wanted to shed its cheap and tacky image and attract a new, older audience.

The brief

Megabus needed to change perceptions of the brand from cheap, student travel to a service perfect for empty nesters, while amplifying the quality of the service – onboard wifi, charging points and seat reservations – and enticing customers to travel post-lockdown.

With trains being faster, other coach operators more well-known and cars being more comfortable, the challenge was to get the age 55+ audience to choose to travel on the Megabus.

Tin Man’s strategy was to use the service to bring families together who’d spent over a year apart, connecting them physically and emotionally.

The idea

’The Grand Reunion’ was a campaign specially created to reunite grandparents with their grandkids. A bespoke ticket would allow free travel between two locations for a year to make up for lost time.

Tin Man devised the offer in partnership with Megabus and created a bespoke landing page for applications to trial the ticket. After finding the right family to show off its The Grand Reunion ticket – the Plowrights – Tin Man wanted to make the experience and content really special with personal touches, like goody bags for the grandparents designed by their grandchildren waiting on their seats, as well as personalized messages on the front-of-coach destination sign welcoming them aboard and giant billboards en route that were drawn by the children.

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Tin Man also managed to subtly show off the onboard wifi, charging points and coach tracker app.

The real challenge with the campaign was the timing. As soon as Megabus was able to restart its service following government announcements, Tin Man had mere days to turn around the content in order to capitalize on the media moment. The content was live within a week.

The results

60+ pieces of coverage including five nationals and 14 broadcasts hit in key locations across the Megabus network. The brand also saw site traffic up 28% on launch day and almost 10,000 grandparents entering the competition to win free travel to their grandkids.

From social media, 1.25m impressions were seen across YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, with the majority of click-throughs coming from people aged 45+, showing it was effective in engaging the target audience.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2022. You can see all the winners here.

And check out which of The Drum Awards are currently open for entry.

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