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CASE STUDY: ‘With Love from Paddington’

Network Rail, GWR and Heathrow Express brought in specialist experiential agency Blackjack Promotions, working in partnership with Magnet Harlequin, and Paddington Bear to help spread the love around at Paddington Station in the run-up to Valentine’s Day 2017.

The ‘Love Paddington’ festivities saw Network Rail, GWR and Heathrow Express celebrate the recent improvements to the station that includes the restoration of Brunel’s original 1860 roof, a new ticket office and the opening of The Lawn area at the station, which boasts 40 retail and dining units.

Three days of face-to-face customer engagement activity ran from February 8th through to February 10th. It kicked off with the distribution of 40,000 copies of a retail discount booklet containing a range of offers from 18 different retailers at Paddington.

On the 10th, Paddington hosted a full day of activities, led by an interactive social media experience using a giant heart message wall. Travellers were able to upload a personal message and strike a pose using various props that were on hand. Consumers were incentivised to share their messages via social media by being offered the chance to win a range of prizes donated by Paddington’s retailers.

During the day, the Lawn, Paddington’s passenger lounge area on the main concourse, saw food and drink retailers including Leon, Starbucks, Accessorize, Patisserie Valerie, Savannah, Kiehl’s and The Cabin taking part with sampling activity for passengers, while passers-by were treated to live music all day.

Mark Langman, Managing Director for Network Rail’s Western Route said: “Love Paddington is all about celebrating Paddington Station and giving something back to all the passengers that use the station every day.”

Langman added: “The station is better than ever thanks to the programme of improvements under Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan and we have created an environment which has improved the experience of using the station, providing the best quality environment to meet, eat, shop and travel.”

All the ‘Love Paddington’ activity was designed to cut through and engage with passengers and public. Events ran from 7.00am through to 7.00pm.

Blackjack’s role included:

  • Providing staff to target local businesses and commuters in and around Paddington Station the day before the event kicked off inviting them to the celebrations;
  • Brainstorming ideas with Magnet Harlequin to create the concept;
  • Providing full production support including the Lawn and Main Concourse area elements, interactive screen, on site technicians and installation, and then dismantling and removing everything at the end of the event;
  • Supplying Brand Ambassadors on the day to interact with consumers;
  • Filming and editing a Love Paddington promotional video.

Paddington Station saw a significant rise in footfall on February 10th, while retailers saw sales jump massively. Network Rail ran its first ever Facebook Live activity, which attracted 30,000 Likes and 9,000 Shares.

The activity was so successful other stations around the UK have shown interest in holding a ‘Love From…’ campaign.

Andy DeVito, Head of Experiential, Blackjack Promotions, said: “We were delighted to be able to help this great collaboration between Network Rail, GWR and Heathrow Express. This event helped spread the love and celebrate the rejuvenation of one of the UK’s truly great stations and an engineering masterpiece.” DeVito added: “Love Paddington was such a great event to be a part of, from the initial concept right through to providing the final video edit. Creating awareness of Paddington’s refurbishment and getting more people into the station to experience the changes were the core objectives for the activity, and we definitely delivered that.”