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Brandpool launches Britain’s first domestic high speed rail service for Southeastern

Brandpool launches Britain’s first domestic high speed rail service for Southeastern

Ad agency and creative content providers Brandpool have created and developed the launch of Britain’s first domestic high speed rail service. The campaign, for Southeastern, promotes high speed as the ideal alternative to road travel.

The new Southeastern service, running between St Pancras International and Kent, can reach speeds of up to 140 mph and will mean a reduction in journey times of up to 69 minutes for commuters. The line also serves Stratford International, a key transport hub for the 2012 Olympics.

The campaign, which starts with an initial three-week burst, comprises outdoor, radio, digital and press in London and Kent.

Andrew Ayers, head of marketing at Southeastern comments: “The campaign marks a milestone in the history of the UK railways – the launch of Britain’s first high speed trains. We want to convey, especially to motorists, that now is the time to shake the driving habit. Brandpool have developed a fresh, standout campaign which has the look, feel and values of quality car advertising.”

The campaign was created by John McWilliams, Chris Hill and Martin Cunningham of Brandpool with photography by Spencer Rowell. John McWilliams is known to millions as GMTV’s personality ‘guru on the sofa’ but also as the ad man behind award-winning work for Virgin Atlantic and other household name brands. Chris Hill is one of the creative brains who developed the much loved Creature Comforts BAFTA winning campaign for the Electricity Association, as well as the long-running ‘Lucky the dog’ commercials for More Than. Spencer Rowell is the photographer whose picture of a naked man’s torso for a Le Coq Sportif campaign became a merchandising phenomenon as an Athena poster, adorning bedroom walls worldwide. The voiceover for the radio campaign is legendary theatre and Hollywood star, Steven Berkoff.


Comments John McWilliams, chairman and creative principal of Brandpool: “We wanted to create a campaign that didn’t focus on the features of high speed train travel so much as on the real human benefits. To our audience, high speed means less stress, less angst and, crucially, more time doing the things that matter to them. Less time travelling, more time living.

“Brandpool is a new ad agency paradigm. It is a group of creative content providers bringing heavyweight creative talent to every form of marketing communications – from TV to DM and digital and everything in between – backed up by client service directors and account managers,” explains McWilliams. “Our radical new way of working is a first in the ad agency world but is the way movie studios have been working for years. We develop the big idea and then draw on the talents of our pool of top drawer independents – all managed by us.

“Our unique way of working means our clients get heavyweight talent at a lightweight cost. We agree a fee for the big idea, keeping everything nice and transparent, then charge our independents at their freelance rate plus a modest management margin – not adding the huge multipliers on bought-in and overhead costs that agencies typically do. We keep our overheads low – our office may be in ad land, but it’s not what you’d call extravagant. Having worked in big agencies, we know just how much of the cost of those sumptuous surroundings is finally paid for by the poor old client.

“The arrival of genuine famous heavyweights to Brandpool has been the stimulus for our radical new way of working. Given the fact they’ve all worked for big time agencies, we have complete confidence in this new proposition.”

The official high speed rail service launch at St Pancras International station was attended by Prime Minister Gordon Brown who called the first weekday journey, “a momentous day in the long and glorious history of British railways.”