How a bespoke content campaign drove brand awareness for Great Western Railway | #BehindTheIdea

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After over a year of travel restrictions across the entire Great Western Railway network, the brand wished to inspire travellers to rediscover the joy of travel and explore the many destinations across the network. They needed more than a campaign to drive brand awareness; they needed content and storytelling to capture the interest of travellers around the UK.

Travel e-commerce brand Culture Trip stepped in to help. The team launched a GWR branded hub hosting bespoke content, including articles and videos from the selected destinations. With the help of independent media agency The7Stars, Culture Trip and GWR launched a highly interactive experience for viewers, founded on content to drive brand awareness for GWR.

Of course there is more to this campaign than meets the eye, and the story behind it is just as inspiring as the destinations themselves. Today we are getting Behind the Idea following a chat with David Read, Account Director of Brand Partnerships at Culture Trip, to learn more about the inspiring campaign below.


What was the brief?

To inspire UK travellers to get out and travel this summer with GWR and to discover new destinations across their network.

How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?

We wanted to make sure the campaign ideas that we pitched not only unearthed hidden gems and unique activities along Great Western Rail’s extensive network, but also integrated the onboard passenger experience. We showcased how GWR facilitates the overall experience that we explore in the bespoke content, which was well received by our partner. 


Tell us more about the concept. How did it come to life, and why was it the right choice?

We used the expertise of our strategy and insights team within the Culture Trip Media Sales team to ensure the concepts we were pitching were timely, aligned to Culture Trip’s audience’s interests, as well as being in line with current market trends. These consisted of: travelling with pets, multigenerational travel, digital nomads (working from anywhere) and adventure travel – the content was tailored around these themes.

What was the production process like? What was the biggest challenge?

We created bespoke content for the campaign - including written content, custom photography and video. Creating video was tricky in parts due to some COVID restrictions that were still in place at the time, as well as station and train regulations and shooting permits.

What is one funny or notable thing that happened during the production of the campaign?

Trying to create fun and inspiring video content whilst simultaneously making sure we stuck to government guidelines and restrictions was pretty amusing!


What’s the main message of the campaign and why does it matter?

That UK travellers can feel safe and excited about getting back out to travel with GWR and explore the very best of the destinations they serve.

The bespoke Culture Trip content created for the campaign not only puts a spotlight on the great adventures waiting to be discovered within the GWR network but also educates on train travel and its advantages over other modes of transport, reassuring travellers that they can travel with ease, comfort and confidence

What is one unique aspect of the campaign?

As a travel e-commerce brand with content at its core we are able to leverage both our unique content and award-winning story-telling capabilities as well as our bookable functionality. We include a carousel of bookable experiences and places to stay - hand-picked by Culture Trip. This provides a full-funnel experience for the user: inspiring them with content and moving them from ‘looking to booking’ with this functionality.

How long did it take from inception to delivery?

It was four months from initial discussions with the7stars and Great Western Rail to the campaign going live, with the campaign running for three months and ending on 31st October. 


What do you hope it achieves for the brand?

After a year of travel being restricted across GWR’s services, we want to inspire people to travel with the rail operator to new destinations that they might not have previously considered and experience new adventures that await across the network. 

The campaign Culture Trip has devised for Great Western Railway inspires people to use the train and visit new places across the network — giving them reasons to travel and to discover more with GWR. The partnership allows GWR to reach existing and new audiences with Culture Trip users being known as experience hungry and highly engaged.

Credit list for the campaign?

Kate Glover – VP of Media Sales, Culture Trip
David Read – Account Director, Brand Partnerships, Culture Trip 
Jennifer Gannaway – Account Management Director, Culture Trip
Rachel Lorenzon – Head of Partnerships, The7Stars
Gaultier Hardy – Senior Marketing Manager, GWR


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