Adam & Eve/DDB appointed to ad account of new West Coast rail operator

Name of successor to Virgin Trains was revealed this week as Avanti West Coast.

Avanti West Coast: replaces Virgin Trains on 8 December
Avanti West Coast: replaces Virgin Trains on 8 December

Avanti West Coast, which takes over the running of trains on the West Coast Main Line on 8 December, has appointed Adam & Eve/DDB to launch the brand after a competitive pitch.

The name of the new operator, run by a consortium of First Group and Italian state-owned company Trenitalia, was revealed this week. Avanti is an Italian expression that can be used to mean "forward", "come on" or "go ahead". It replaces Virgin Trains, which is set to disappear from the UK after 22 years – although it will continue to exist in Florida.

The pitch process began quickly after the franchise was awarded in August. Final pitches took place in mid-September, with Adam & Eve/DDB up against three other agencies: Engine, FCB Inferno and Leeds-based Home.

A spokesman for First-Trenitalia said: "We’re delighted to be working with Adam & Eve/DBB. The standard of the pitches from all four agencies was very high and we were very impressed by the hard work they put into their proposals."

Initial work introducing the brand and explaining the change of franchise will launch on 2 December, with a broader campaign including TV set to follow in early 2020. 

The7stars is handling media for the new operator as part of its First Group account, which it won in July.

Adam & Eve/DDB already handles advertising for Great Western Railway, while Engine holds the account for South Western Railway; both are owned by First Group (the latter in a consortium with Hong Kong metro operator MTR). 

The West Coast Main Line runs services between the majority of the UK’s biggest cities, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh. The new contract will in theory also see Avanti run the first trains on HS2 from 2026 – although the project remains a political hot potato.