Virgin Trains aims to establish cheeky personality in new campaign

Anomaly has created a suite of humorous 10-second ads for Virgin Trains to focus on a range of benefits that train travel can have over other forms of transport.

The campaign will run nationally across TV, cinema, video-on-demand, radio, out-of-home and digital. There is also a special targeted campaign running in Leeds, where statistics show people leave it later than in other parts of the country to buy train tickets, resulting in a local perception that they are expensive.

The creatives, which took inspiration from Virgin’s punk roots and the work of graffiti artist Jamie Reid, aim to give the brand a voice more closely linked to the parent brand and less to to train companies, Anomaly said.

But it may leave a sour taste with some consumers, coming less than two months after Virgin’s East Coast franchise – which includes trains from London to Leeds – reached an agreement with the government to terminate its contract early, which some critics have called a "bailout".

The brand also generated controversy this month when it emerged the company had chosen to stop selling the Daily Mail onboard its trains – leading Virgin boss Richard Branson to intervene and force it to reverse the decision.

Danny Gonzalez, marketing and sales director at Virgin Trains East Coas,t said: "The new 10-second ads are the perfect embodiment of our tone of voice. They’re disruptive and give us a great visual currency that builds on our established look and feel."