The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity runs till the 21st of June. “Guilt Trips” took the Grand Prix award today for Creative Effectiveness. This witty commercial exponentially increased the ticket sales for the V Line train in Melbourne, Australia.
A Brief Explanation provided by Cannes Lions: This is a story about how V/Line used the extraordinary power of guilt to motivate young Victorians to leave the bright lights of the city to visit friends and family in the country, all with a tiny budget (US$400,000). When running a train company, it’s normal for trains to be at or near capacity during peak periods. The trains hardest to fill are those travelling against commuter traffic and those in the middle of the day. V/Line calls these customers its “Visiting Friends and Families”. They represent a potentially huge opportunity if they can be captured, but they are difficult to isolate and as V/Line discovered, even harder to motivate.
Young Victorians were fleeing rural towns for the big city, and put simply, they were just too busy with their new lives to visit friends and relatives back home in the country. And they felt guilty. They felt they were neglecting their friends and family back in the country. But as a train company we couldn’t make people feel guilty. But we could create a new product to advertise – The Guilt Trip, a pre-purchase ticket that people could send to someone who would feel guilty for not visiting. Through this, we used the power of guilt to get people back to the country.
To sell our product, there were three parts: 1. Tell Victorians about our new product, The Guilt Trip: We used traditional media and public relations to kick off the campaign. 2. Get country people to do the selling for us. To empower friends and family to ply on the guilt. Online films, regional media and Guilt Trip handbooks offering tips on how to ply guilt. 3. Use social media to enhance the guilt. The Guilt Trip platform was designed to allow users to publicly guilt their family and friends to come home – through Facebook and Twitter (Image 6).
The Results. We saw a 12% increase in off-peak sales with an additional 123,000 tickets sold, smashing our 5% kpi. Guilt Trips generated $4 Million in additional revenue; exceeding our KPI by 167%. Consideration also increased with call-center enquiries for VFR travel rising on average 28%, well exceeding our 10% target. This campaign helped more V/Line employees to realize that they do not simply drive trains; they help to bring loved ones back home to their families, their friends and their country towns. One Guilt Trip at a time.