Regarded by many as old-fashioned and uncomfortable, coach travel gets an unexpected boost in National Express' "Silver Lady" ad, created by Isobel, which has won the May/June 2014 Thinkboxes Award for TV ad creativity.
National Express positions itself as a good-time brand, and the ad, featuring actor/singer David Soul, brings that to life. The one-time Starsky & Hutch star plays a happy-go-lucky coach driver singing his 1977 number-one hit as he drives passengers across Britain.
Susanna Holdsworth, marketing director at National Express, said: "The campaign is built around reasons for travel. Our strategy was to focus on different groups that travel with us and their reasons for doing so.
"We're really taking the opportunity to showcase our product - the vehicle - with high-quality, soft-focus photography and the ad has a dreamy, film-like quality. We're targeting people who would benefit from travelling with us, but who may not consider us, by opening their eyes to coach travel in a memorable way.
"This is a world away from our previous campaigns, which have been playful and cartoonish. It also reflects a new-found confidence in the business, which has seen a revival in its fortunes since 2012, one of the toughest years in the company's history. So we are thrilled to have won this acknowledgement of what everyone involved agrees has been an excellent campaign to work on."
Royal London's tongue-in-cheek "Ye Olde Pensions" came second in the May/June Thinkboxes, followed by the latest instalment in McDonald's "Favourites" campaign - "Hunter Gatherer"
Susanna Holdsworth, National Express
To see the full shortlist and to view this winning entry, judged by our 250+ Academy members and showcased in Campaign, go to www.thinkbox.tv/thethinkboxes.