STAGECOACH EAST MIDLANDS (SEASIDERS) - Local community campaign
To revitalise a fleet of tired looking double decker open top buses in the seaside town of Skegness and make them appealing to families and children once again.
We decided one word should drive our thinking on this particular mission– fun! And so the Seasiders were born.
Out went the corporate livery and in came six individual characters, each with a story to tell.
In addition to providing accessible, essential transport between the top tourist destinations of Skegness and Ingoldmells the vehicles have quickly become attractions in their own right.
Overall the Seasiders project brought a high profile, exciting and fun image to Skegness’s bus services with special appeal to families and children.
Designed to make maximum visual impact, capture youngsters’ imaginations, generate public and media interest, and ultimately translate this into increased patronage, our key objectives were to:
Transform the image of the bus service into a tourist attraction in its own right.
Create direct appeal to Stagecoach’s target customers using marketing techniques not generally seen in the bus industry.* Bring simplicity, customer confidence, and improved access to service information.
Bring simplicity, customer confidence, and improved access to service information.
Inspire and motivate staff to take ownership of the product to deliver first class customer service.
Engage with local authorities, businesses and attractions, and communities to emphasise the importance of buses to the economy.
We worked with the Stagecoach Commercial Team to create a complete marketing package covering all aspects from livery design to timetable leaflets as well as ordering merchandise and coordinating media plans.
This work culminated in:
Six refurbished open top low floor buses presented as bright, beautiful individual characters created in similar styles.
Supporting merchandise including windmills, balloons and t-shirts with badges for each bus being distributed by the drivers to children on completion of their journeys.
A range of children’s books featuring entertaining stories about the Seasiders with contributions from sales going to charity.
Comprehensive bus guides covering routes, timetables, and fare offers supported by a range of vouchers for discounts secured from local attractions and businesses; supported by website, social media and online advance ticket sales opportunities.
The introduction of a ‘Kids for a Quid’ flat fare to reduce the cost of bus travel for families.
A high profile launch event at the start of the summer season presented by Lincs FM featuring children’s entertainment, competitions and giveaways.
A children’s competition to design and name sixth bus with hundreds of entries resulting in Salty The Seasider joining the rest of the gang.
The Skegness staff fully embraced and got into the spirit of the campaign something best demonstrated by a group of drivers who wrote and recorded a Seasiders song to the tune of Summer Holiday!
There was an immediate uplift in patronage with some days being 40 per cent up year on year.
The first audited financials showed a profit increase of 20 per cent plus year on year.
I first used Astley Media when I was working in Exeter but liked them so much that I retained their services when I took on my current role in Lincoln.
They are hard working, passionate and delightfully creative.
Their ideas have helped us to grow passenger numbers and revenue and also motivate the staff.
I think it’s testament to the professionalism of the team that they achieve great results for us – from 200 miles away!
Managing Director, Stagecoach East Midlands