IPA Effectiveness Awards 2010: Silver Award - thetrainline.com

Title: Back on track: using communications to change entrenched behaviour

Client: The Trainline

Entrant: DLKW

Author: Susan Poole, DLKW

Contributing authors: Iain Hildreth, Tom Bradley, thetrainline.com; Dan Plant, Vizeum

Credited companies - Creative agency: DLKW; media agency: Vizeum

Media used: Online display, outdoor/poster, search, TV, website/microsite


Communications successfully altered people's behaviour when buying tickets, achieving an incremental £137.8 million in revenue in the first 18 months, with a payback of £2.42 for every £1 spent.


Thetrainline.com faced declining sales growth. To reverse this trend, it identified those people responsible for the 81 per cent of train tickets bought at the station on the day. Creative and media strategy applied behavioural economics theory to create effective communications to offline users. Communications placed at all touchpoints in stations, as well as TV, online advertising, search and e-mail marketing, conveyed the message that buying tickets on thetrainline.com saved an average of 39 per cent versus buying on the day. The creative idea featured a flock of sheep to represent the herd-like nature of people's current behaviour, compared with the clever behaviour of the human who bought his ticket online. It achieved an incremental £137.8 million in revenue in the first 18 months, with a payback of £2.42 for every £1 spent.


This campaign used simple and direct communications to successfully bring information to the customer in a way that was helpful and compelling. Without changing prices, they showed customers how they could reduce the cost of their journey and, as a result, they changed behaviour and achieved great results.

Gill Barr, head of marketing UK and Ireland, MasterCard.