Last Thursday 23rd October, 5 of us from AB assembled at Exeter St Davids at 5am, alongside 5 actors, a presenter, Jonny Nelson and the Flybe marketing guys: bleary-eyed and buoyed with boundless energy – yes we were up way before the larks. The plan was simple, tell rail commuters about Flybe’s new route from Exeter to London City. Tell them it’s faster, cheaper and well obviously better. But how, I hear you ask?….well, in reality, trying to talk to commuters at 6am is actually a very difficult challenge. If you put yourself in their mindset, it’s not a pretty picture. It’s early, it’s dark, you’re tired, you’re late and you’ve got a fairly arduous day ahead of you in that there London town.

So we wanted to add something into their lives, a positive intervention. So we handed out top-notch coffee from our friends at Camper Coffee. We handed out the London Metro, to show that with Flybe you get to London quicker…and then we offered a discount on flights and for those unfortunate enough to have to pay for a rail season ticket, we offered them a free flight.

Of course, whilst the plan was simple and fiendishly clever, Great Western Railway didn’t agree. Get orfff my land, they said. We tried to reason with them, offer them a latte and explain it was just a bit of healthy competition but done with a lightness of touch and a glint in the eye, but they disagreed and called the police.

We packed up at 8am (the planned exit time) and then headed to the city centre to talk to the business community. Here we handed out free coffee, water and more information about the new route. We interviewed tons of people and it became very clear that many we’re disgruntled with the current rail offering and a new way, a faster better way, was a very attractive offering.
Later that day, as the workers returned home we were there again, but this time with purple flowers and an even broader smile on our audiences faces. Flowers are a winner for marketing events, you just can’t give them out quick enough.

The end result. We handed out hundreds of coffees, waters, newspapers, flowers, we spoke to hundreds and hundreds of people, the story and the message then got delivered to millions of would-be commuters courtesy of the South West press, the Daily Mail and the Telegraph. And we’ve got a film to prove it, have a watch, relive the day. Rejoice


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