In a first for the UK, millennial travel company, WeRoad, is getting the nation to mingle with strangers – no keys in the bowl required. In its first ever international OOH campaign, the travel company is encouraging Brits to trade rush hour for the real rush of exploring the world with a new crew of friends.
Following WeRoad’s entry into two new markets in late 2022, the campaign is live across London, Rome, Milan, Madrid, Barcelona, and Paris, as WeRoad plays on its key USP of getting solo travellers together for the experience of a lifetime. To learn more, we spoke to Justyna Chlopecka, Marketing Manager UK at WeRoad.
What was the brief?
To bring to life the social aspect of travel with WeRoad. We wanted to emphasise the importance of meeting new people whilst travelling and how WeRoad provides a platform for people to connect and make friends.
As this was our first OOH campaign of this scale in the UK market, we also wanted to showcase the unconventional and unique travel experiences that WeRoad offers, such as off-the-beaten-path destinations and immersive cultural experiences.
We also wanted to highlight the positive testimonials from WeRoad customers and how it’s helped them make lasting connections with others.
How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?
After successful OOH campaigns in Italy, Spain and France, we were ready to expand our marketing to facilitate the UK. Breaking into this new market, we knew we needed something big, as our previous UK campaigns have never been of this size and magnitude.
Part of our DNA and way of working at WeRoad is handling everything in-house: from travel and itinerary designs, to accommodation sourcing, to training our travel coordinators, to even the development of our tech platform. Our marketing is also fully internally sourced, which allows us to be closer to the business.
We began our brainstorming with how to tailor our message to the British public and convey the core of WeRoad, which is essentially meeting new friends through small group travels in an adventurous set up.
We wanted to showcase our customers’ experiences to demonstrate how fun the trips can be and found the best user generated pictures from our customers, which then was incorporated with our signature WeRoad red.
We tailored each ad’s design depending on the media format, from the side of London buses and inside tube stations, to bus stations and digital frames across the Capital.
The destinations we used in our campaign were:
- Canary Islands
WeRoad has a strong brand personality that expresses itself through bold (and sometimes controversial) copy-led ads. Copy ads are definitely our favourite way of communicating with customers and the public, however, up until this latest campaign, we haven’t had a chance to execute copy-only ads.
That’s why we thought we’d use the smaller spaces inside tube carriages to show off our creative copy skills, engaging with our millennial audience with fun messages like:
- DTF? Down to fly, far far away?
- Successfully planning a trip with friends is like saying “Tonight I’m only having one”. It’s not gonna happen
- Getting out of your comfort zone is like taking off skinny jeans. Hard, but feels amazing when you do.
For the buses we opted for shorter, more memorable messages:
- The rush without the hour
- Should I stay or should I go?
- Ever travelled with a group of strangers
What was the process behind ideating the concept?
Our focus for this campaign was to bring first-hand experiences to life and we discussed internally the best way for people to experience our trips through our campaign.
As soon as we got to what our core USP is – our travel coordinators – it was a no-brainer to use real content captured by people on our trips. What better way to show exactly who we are and what we do than through real WeRoad experiences?
What was the production process like?
The entire production was executed in-house, which, when you are launching across four different markets can be quite a feat!
Based on the business maturity of the UK markets and on WeRoad’s local awareness, we also tailored each market with two different creative concepts, so trying to get all dates of this campaign to align was a challenge; we wanted this to be a truly international campaign.
What was the biggest challenge during production? How did you overcome it?
Due to the use of language and phrasing, our biggest challenge was getting the approval from Transport for London. We had to reformat some of our more tongue in cheek content and phrases to get this approval through the powers at be. TfL weren’t too keen on us playing on strangers having relationships…
What kit/tools/software were used to create the project?
Our design team worked really hard to bring this campaign together. They used the likes of photoshop to bring it all to life and did an incredible job.
The great thing about this campaign is that we relied on real content from real people on our actual trips and I think this has really connected people to the content we’ve gone out with.
What is one funny or notable thing that happened during production?
It’s funny, our copy ads are quite often banned or censored by public transportation companies across the EU countries… they are so rigid!
And this time, it was no different with TfL. But in all honesty, we weren’t expecting it because the copy was pretty innocent. It was the same copy that we had used in Berlin, Paris, Madrid and Barcelona a few months ago.
It said: “Have you ever done it with a group of strangers?”. TFL didn’t like the ”sexual innuendo” and in the end, we had to turn it into “Ever travelled with a group of strangers?” which, let’s admit it, is kind of plain.
What’s the main message of this project and why does it matter?
As with any brand awareness campaign, ‘Grab Your Backpack’ is all about driving interest in WeRoad, while demonstrating what we do.
Our key message was actually decided upon through WeRoaders themselves. We have a large following on Instagram (almost 100K) and often run polls via this account. We asked recently “what would [our followers] most want to achieve through travelling solo?”
Our most common answer was “get out of your comfort zone”, which allowed us to learn about the UK market and how Brits want to travel.
How long did it take from inception to delivery?
Due to the nature of the business, we are often working under strict and tight deadlines. The creative process itself took five weeks, but media buying took slightly longer as we wanted to target key locations across London that we knew would get the most attention from our key audience.
We are an agile business and love working on fast creatives. We’re constantly in touch with ad space providers to get their last-minute deals, ensuring that we’re always-on when it comes to creating reactive campaigns.
What do you hope it achieves for the brand?
Travel communication can be boring and old-school. Tour operators tend to communicate the usual way: beautiful beaches, sun, palm trees, or adventures to Machu Picchu, that’s it.
With this campaign, we wanted to introduce Londoners to WeRoad: real people in real life. Real faces, not actors or models, not produced or photoshopped pictures, just the real thing.
We hope people will get that we are communicating differently because we are different. Our whole business is about people and we must communicate in a personable and authentic way.
Credit list for the work?
Creative development: WeRoad in-house marketing team
Pictures: WeRoaders IRL
UK media buying: Justyna Chlopecka, UK Marketing Manager
Chief Marketing Officer: Fabio Bin
Media space provider: Global, JCDecaux, Clear Channel
Zeeshan Raza March 20th, at dawnBrilliant article, its great to see how well you guys are doing