Virgin Trains: The Return of the Train

Story of the film

Virgin Trains wanted to tap into emotion and bring back excitement for consumers. TV quickly became the perfect vehicle to do this. With creativity at the heart of the success of this integrated campaign. They restored the glamour of train travel and changed brand perception, with their single ambition to deliver great work, through the power of TV.


‘The return of the train’ was the highly successful result of an involvement-based strategy aimed at combating the emotional pull of the car and the plane.

The campaign provided a modern take on the ‘golden era’ of rail travel with a romantic celebration of cutting edge innovation with ‘the good old days’ train service, supported by rational support in announcement orientated media.

Overall journey numbers increased significantly over the campaign period when compared with the same period the previous year. West Coast revenues were up 32% year on year, and the incremental revenue generated from advertising was £29.7m, representing an ROI of £4.20.

Film contributors

Titles correct at the time of publish date

  • Craig Inglis, Marketing Director, Virgin Trains
  • Lucy Howard, Planner, RKCR/Y&R
  • Ida Rezvani, Board Account Director, RKCR/Y&R
  • Sean Mellows, Account Director, Manning Gottlieb OMD
  • Pip Bishop. Creative Partner, RKCR/Y&R
  • Chris Hodgkiss, Creative Partner, RKCR/Y&R


Award: 2006 IPA Effectiveness Awards, Silver Award

Client: Virgin Trains

Entrants: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe Y&R and Manning Gottlieb OMD

Authors: Lucy Howard, Claire Marker, David Bratt, Jack Bowley, Sally Dickerson and Steve Perry

Media used: TV, Print, Outdoor, Interactive, Radio, DM, Cinema, Ambient, Press

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