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Snowglobes and racing trains – how to engage the traveller

By Katie Pacifici, Senior Account Manager, Blackjack Promotions

The last 18 months has certainly been busy for Blackjack and First Great Western, kicking off with our deploying a giant snowglobe at Paddington and Reading rail stations in the run-up to Christmas 2013, offering travellers the chance to get inside and have their picture taken.

The giant snowglobe worked brilliantly – It’s amazing how even the most hardened commuter is transformed by the chance to do something fun in an unusual environment. Let’s face it, taking objects which we’ve grown up with and blowing them up to massive proportions is a guaranteed attention grabber.

In fact, the snowglobe proved so popular with passengers that Paddington’s management and First Great Western asked us to keep it there for longer than originally planned!

What’s more, the giant snowglobe returned again for a second year during Christmas 2014, surprising passengers with a slightly new take on the activation with a stronger focus on social media and sharing. Participants were invited to visit FGWphoto.co.uk to retrieve their festive pic and to share it via Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #FGWSnowGlobe.

We had similar success for First Great Western in the summer of 2014, when we took a bespoke Scalextric train set around UK festivals, challenging people to see how quickly they could complete the course. The large scale set incorporated some of the stunning destinations and attractions across the South West including the Clifton Suspension Bridge and Wales Millennium Centre. This worked as a fantastic tool to engage members of the public with the brand; get them in the right environment and in the right frame of mind, while giving them the chance to compete against their friends or their loved ones…

But what if you haven’t got the time or the space to set up giant snowglobes or race tracks? Well, you can engage with people extremely effectively by offering them the chance to enter a competition. That’s what we did at Reading and Bristol stations earlier this year and it turned out to be a very valuable resource for First Great Western.

Teams of brand ambassadors armed with iPads, loaded up with a bespoke web-based app created by Blackjack specifically for this campaign, approached passengers to collect valuable information. Commuters were encouraged to sign up to First Great Western’s Escape eNewsletter which includes the latest travel offers, inspiration and event information.

Everyone who provided information was then entered into a competition to win a Kindle Fire which proved extremely popular. The pilot scheme in Reading and Bristol was such a success when we ran it in March that we carried out the same activity in Oxford, Slough, Bath and Bristol again in June.

With all of these activities that we’ve run for First Great Western we have given travellers some fun and excitement, all the while highlighting the brand’s commitment to customer service. And now we’re looking forward to some even bigger and better campaigns for 2015! Watch this space…