Case Study: Campaign for Better Transport

The transport charity enlisted the help of communications agency Forster to create a quick-build website for its Fair Fares Now campaign

Campaign for Better Transport's Fair Fares Now campaign
Campaign for Better Transport's Fair Fares Now campaign

The communications agency Forster had to work fast to create a microsite and branding for the Campaign for Better Transport's Fair Fares Now campaign, which is battling government plans to introduce fare rises from January 2012.

Forster, which had worked on transport-related campaigns before, had only four weeks to set up the campaign. "We began at the end of November and launched at Christmas," says Gillian Daines, project director.

There were also money constraints. "It was a shoestring budget", she says. "The CfBT wanted a specific brand for this campaign - it wanted it to be distinct from its main site."

The CfBT website's main colours are blue and green; the Fair Fares Now microsite is predominately yellow. Daines says the thinking behind the different branding was that the microsite would have wider public appeal and would reach out to people beyond the CfBT's core supporters.

The aim was to get people to participate actively in the campaign through the microsite, so it includes a facility that enables them to calculate how their train fares will increase over the next four years.

Users then have the option of using the website to tweet their expected fare increase or to post it on Facebook as a means of communicating the campaign to others. "We wanted people to be able to make a positive statement," Daines explains.

The microsite's home page shows a hand holding a ticket in front of images of both rural and urban landscapes. "The idea was to show that the issue affects people across the UK," she adds.

Fairer Fares NowThe campaign has so far included publicity stunts at several rail stations, including one at London's Charing Cross in which campaigners wore masks carrying the face of the transport secretary, Philip Hammond, and portrayed him as a pickpocket.

According to Alexandra Woodsworth, public transport campaigner at the CfBT, nearly 7,000 people have signed up to the Fair Fares Now campaign, which has also received the backing of organisations including the Trades Union Congress, Greenpeace and RMT, the transport union.

The campaign has also been endorsed by the broadcaster and actor Michael Palin. "We've secured meetings with the transport minister Theresa Villiers and other senior officials at the Department for Transport," Woodsworth says.  Ben Cook

EXPERT VIEW - Kiernan Schmitt, Planner, Grey London

Kieran SchmittI like the campaign's visual expression - a train ticket merged with a speech bubble - which easily but cleverly communicates that this movement gives a voice to commuters. However, the image's power is severely diluted by the lack of cohesion through the site as a whole.

The cardinal rule of marketing is to communicate a single-minded proposition, and at the moment Fair Fares Now stands for many causes: lower fares, less crowding, more "straightforward" tickets, reliable service.

While all are potentially worthy causes, the site fails to prioritise them or, most importantly, communicate how commuters can take action beyond signing up for a newsletter.

Instead of offering potential solutions or inspiring calls to action, the copy settles for bold-fonted outrage or, at worst, whining.


Creativity: 2

Delivery: 2

Total: 4 out of 10

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