The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

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By The Drum, Editorial

November 28, 2023 | 3 min read

Avanti West Coast and Cubaka have won the Integrated category at The Drum Awards for Social Media. Here is the award-winning case study.

In an effort to transform the male-dominated field of train driving and accelerate female recruitment, Avanti West Coast collaborated with Cubaka and Mischief PR for a fully integrated PR and social campaign. The ambitious goals set for the campaign included doubling the number of female applicants, improving consideration of train driving as a career for women, doubling expected visits to the job application page, generating positive PR amidst strikes and timetable upheaval, and increasing engagement on Avanti West Coast's social channels.


1. Hi-vis Required:

  • Created visibility for female train drivers by highlighting Karen Harrison, one of the UK’s first female train drivers, through a giant mural at Euston.
  • Shifted the perception of train driving as a male profession by showcasing Karen's story of sustained harassment and her advocacy for women’s rights in the transport industries.

2. Recruitment on the right track:

  • Collaborated directly with Avanti West Coast’s HR and recruitment teams to identify key blockers for women in the application process.
  • Extended the application window by launching the campaign a month before and transformed the application process to be more female-friendly.
  • Launched the industry’s first-ever recruitment chatbot to engage and inform potential female candidates about the role.

3. Let’s have a chat:

  • Designed a Meta chatbot as a light-hearted first interview, focusing on key qualities needed for a successful train driver.
  • Recruited Avanti West Coast’s Rebecca as the ‘host’ of the chatbot, providing an additional representation for applicants.
  • Promoted the chatbot through social-first videos, featuring Rebecca, and implemented a paid media strategy to drive engagement.


  • Exceeded Expectations:

    • The campaign drove 400% more female driver applications than all efforts since 2020, totaling 1,500 applicants, nearly double the ambitious target of 800.
    • The landing page views surpassed views for the timetable page on launch day, leading to a temporary website crash.
  • Positive PR Impact:

    • Generated over 300 pieces of coverage with a 97.7% positive or neutral sentiment, surpassing the original target of 22 pieces.
  • Consideration and Engagement:

    • Increased consideration of train driving as a career for women to 45%, surpassing the 32% target.
    • Achieved a 7x increase in job page visits compared to usual, indicating heightened interest.
    • 14,349 completed chatbot sessions with an 80% completion rate.
  • Social Media Success:

    • Achieved a 308% engagement increase across Avanti’s owned channels, surpassing the target of +30%.
    • Ranked in the top 5% of pages on the site for dwell time throughout the campaign.
  • Industry Impact:

    • The campaign not only delivered exceptional results but also contributed to leveling the playing field for women in the rail industry.

The success of the campaign not only met but exceeded expectations, making it a template for success in challenging industry norms and promoting diversity in the workplace.

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