National Express launches new marketing campaign with Starsky & Hutch!

by Al Macmillan

National Express today launched a new £7 million primarily TV advertising campaign featuring David Soul ('Hutch' of Starsky & Hutch fame). In the new ad, being shown initially only in central England so it hasn't beamed near a telly at Coachfairer HQ yet, David Soul is the driver of a National Express coach. As if not having a valid PSV license was bad enough, he proceeds to sing his 1977 UK Number 1 hit 'Silver Lady' while behind him (presumably on the 'Silver Lady') we meet a cast of characters helping us focus on the reasons why people take coach journeys. Created by agency Isobel, the three ads will show a group of girls heading to the airport, a couple going on a weekend away, a little girl going to see her Grandma and a student coming back from college to visit his family.

Speaking to The Drum Jamie Williams, partner at Isobel, said: “Coach travel has a romance that’s been forgotten. Everyone has a story on a coach, and we wanted to focus on these individual stories, the real reasons that people travel for.”

The campaign has been dubbed 'Moments' and Sue Gee, head of campaigns and advertising at National Express, added: “We are truly excited about this new creative approach. It’s big, bold and different. And we believe it will help engage a whole new generation of coach travellers. Around 18 million journeys are made on our coaches every year and this campaign offers a unique window into some of the different reasons why people travel in a warm and engaging way.”

Coachfairer's take on it is that while National Express are doing well (passenger journeys are up 9% this year) they are still battling coach travel's image problem. For some it is seen as a lower class form of transport, for others they associated it with students or the elderly. Most believe that it is slower and less comfortable than the train. What do you think? Is this image still true? Was it ever true? And does this ad campaign do a good job of turning it around? Decide for yourself and please leave your comments below.

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