London Midland gets back on track by using TV for the first time

  • London Midland needed to increase sales and establish the brand as THE local rail operator  
  • They opted for a highly targeted regional campaign
  • They achieved an 85% increase in new registrations

The Challenge

London Midland operates a railway franchise in the midlands. In a difficult recessionary period, they needed to increase short term sales and to establish themselves as THE local rail operator. 

Their objectives were to 

  • Increase propensity to take a leisure trip
  • Drive switching from a competitor train operator
  • Encourage switching from a coach operator along the same route

Achieving these objectives was made more difficult by the tight geographical nature of their business and a limited budget of less than £200,000.

The challenge was to deliver London Midland’s core “cheaper” message to a narrow geographical audience across a business-crucial time period.  

In the past, they had used local messages at each train station and local media options. They had never before considered driving a wider, more broadly targeted message but felt that it was the right time to do this as the brand was struggling. 

The Solution

London Midland had never used TV before but their agency, OMD, felt that now was the right time to utilise what TV can offer. TV is proven to drive awareness quickly and has the power to change the fortunes of a brand. In addition, ITV have the micro regional flexibility to deliver the tight geographical footprint required. So they opted for the micro region Central West which offers an adult reach of over 4million. 

They created a fun ad using animated characters that helped tell the viewers who London Midland are and gave them a feeling of where to go. It also provided them with an offer and drove them online to buy tickets. 

With their budget, they were able to buy nearly 500 adult ratings which were spread over a period of 4 weeks. This is a heavy weight of advertising and so meant that, to viewers in this region, London Midland felt like a big brand.


  • There was an 85% increase in new registrations to their online booking system  
  • The return on investment was extremely positive with an uplift of 38% versus the 3 previous years
  • They reached 65% of adults in their key region
  • They were shortlisted in Thinkbox’s TV Planning Awards in the ‘Best Newcomer to TV’ category

Convincing our board that TV advertising was right for us in an age of austerity was a huge challenge, so being able to report back a 100% increase in sales was a great feeling! The impressive level of targeting that is possible with TV really complements the regional bias of our network.

David Whitley , London Midland Marketing Director


Sector: Travel and Transport

Brand: London Midland

Campaign objectives: To drive short term sales

Target Audience: All adults

Budget: c. £200,000

Campaign Dates: The campaign ran around Easter 2012

TV Usage: 30 second spots

Creative Agency: Spirit

Media Agency:  OMD


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