Virgin Trains

Breaking Radio with Virgin Trains

Manning Gottlieb OMD
Breaking Radio with Virgin Trains

How could Virgin Trains get more car drivers to consider taking the train from London to Birmingham or Leeds? We knew we had to target drivers at their most frustrated – when stuck in traffic jam hell on the motorway. But the only legal way to advertise on motorways is radio. And this didn’t have the capacity to target in the way we needed. So we used radio in a way never done before.


We restructured how it can be bought, breaking down the eight buying regions and splitting them into 64 micro-regions. This allowed us to deliver bespoke radio copy to specific traffic hotspots. Focusing on the M1 and M6 motorways, our radio ads turned on when traffic jams were at their worst.  When drivers stopped at service stations, we then reinforced the message with digital OOH media.

The strategy had the highest ROI of any Virgin Trains campaign. Consideration for the train among those surveyed along the M6 rose from 73% to 82%, while the M1 went from 76% to 83%.
Increase in radio ROI
Increase in OOH ROI
Year on year increase in journeys
Awards & Press
Best Use of Audio
Media Week
Media Innovation
Media Week
Best Use of Data - Data-Driven Insight Special Award
WARC Media Awards
The Data & Creativity Award
Campaign Media Awards
Targeting Excellence - Best Use of Insight to Target A Specific Audience
Marketing New Thinking Awards

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