London’s very own ‘famous five’ (the Crossrail central core stations that is) on the Elizabeth line are giving fantastic journey opportunities to the west. GWR has made play of this fact by launching a new advertising campaign extolling the benefits of the Elizabeth line. What that means is those five stations (Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street and Whitechapel) now all offer quicker transit times compared to for example the time honoured method of getting a Hammersmith and City train to Paddington from the latter three of those stops or a tube journey (with one change) from the first two.
Its sort of elaborating when I mention these ‘famous five’ core stations – because that very notion was in fact devised for a different post I am writing! Yet when I spotted GWR latest publicity, my mind immediately matched it with those five new stations on the Elizabeth line! After all these stops are indeed ‘famous’ because they’re undoubtedly some of the most notable stops on the Elizabeth line. Of course there’s Paddington plus Canary Wharf and Woolwich that have their own unique architectural styles – however those five stops (Bond Street to Whitechapel) have a great architectural design that’s making everyone say ‘wow, this is different!’
Not only that these are the Elizabeth line’s most heavily used stations. Tottenham Court Road is the new busiest station of all on the whole of London’s transport system. In terms of other Elizabeth line destinations people do also want to go from these stops to Heathrow, Shenfield, Slough or Abbey Wood – or from further out into Central London for work or a bit of shopping in Oxford Street or a night out in the West End – but in a disambiguation sense this latest GWR publicity is a case of going Westward Ho!
Elizabeth line roundel used on GWR’s advertising.
What that means is on the same very day the new Bank station entrance sited on Cannon Street opened, Great Western Railway launched their new advertising campaign that extolled a fact it was because of the Elizabeth line that journeys to Bath, Bristol, Oxford, were now much faster. Interestingly the campaign also came with Elizabeth line roundels thus this was a collaboration between GWR and TfL!
Compared to previous advertising campaigns such as Five get to Bristol Briskly, this latest involved four glossy full page adverts of extremely high quality print in London’s Metro newspaper. Essentially these were printed separately and then added to certain batches of the print run on Monday 27th February 2023 before being distributed to a few specific locations across London where I assume the return from these would be seen as being far greater than in other locations. In other words places such as the City of London were now so much more connected to those centres of excellence served by the GWR – namely Bath, Bristol and Oxford.
As this image shows, the Elizabeth line contributes towards faster times on GWR services.
There was also a different advert included in the same edition of the Metro – meaning those who did not see the special Metro issue would at least get a normal edition with the new publicity campaign and that was an advert shown on page eight of the paper – this particular advert being one of those suited to a half page horizontal format.
On page eight of the Metro (all editions) was this new GWR/Elizabeth line collab half page advert for Oxford.
In terms of the unassuming observer or perhaps the rail enthusiast, this was nevertheless a considerable campaign. The quality of the print and the prominence of the advertising stood out. For example its quite well known its nigh on impossible to get quality prints of the GWR’s Famous Five posters because none are for sale – but in this situation it was a boon because four new high quality GWR Famous Five posters were being given away for free!
The four campaign sheets are shown below. They were sightly different in size to the standard tabloid format used by the Metro. Essentially those Metros printed in standard format were collated and distributed as they always are. However a special batch of Metros were printed with the pages somewhat offset (thus the centre of the pages were also more offset than usual) meaning there was a difference between those copies of the standard Metro editions published that day compared to those special ones used for the GWR campaign. This allowed the wider than normal borderless print format of the GWR feature (especially the front page) to sit in line with the formatting for the rest of the paper. Clearly it wouldn’t have worked if the GWR feature set had been distributed with the usual Metro standard format edition because the stapling would then have been placed about half a cm across the front page feature – which would have defaced the printwork! I’m sure those with technical knowledge of newspaper printing will understand the detail involved.
These images show the front and rear adverts of the special edition Metro constituted a full double page spread with Bristol’s famous icons depicted.
The Famous Five were first featured in 2017 to huge reception. There have been three main stories which were created around the Five and their adversaries, along with a good amount of reference to train travel. The basis of these campaigns were intended to raise publicity of GWR’s new IETs (Intercity Express Trains) – basically Azumas in a different livery. There’s no surprise GWR’s Five campaign has continued unabated even though COVID and lockdowns were present for a good bit of its existence. There was a quiet period then when the lockdowns occurred – like there was everywhere else – in terms of travel and advertising. Nevertheless the GWR’s Five campaign has stood the test of time and continues with new ideas and fresh concepts as well as the reissue of previous iterations in a different way.
Adverts on the inner pages of the GWR Elizabeth Line Metro feature for Oxford and Bath.
This latest campaign is basically imagery used from its earliest days yet continues to have value. What is different however (like so many other examples in this considerably long term publicity) is the wording that has been used in a refreshing way. New concepts do come up – including the recent publicity for the Dartmoor (Okehampton) line and its good to see there is plenty left in the works. The artists behind the campaign drew up lots of different ideas and loads of imagery – and its evident there’s a fair amount of stuff that has not yet seen the light of day.
Aside from the imagery, its the easily recognisable style of pictorial work, the wording, that depicts these as part of the GWR campaign. As has already been said, the impressions made upon the public are quite considerable – in other words the advertising brings in a good bit of return thus its no surprise the campaign is here for the long term.
Update 3rd March 2023:
Elizabeth Line Liverpool Street had a full digital display throughout the station featuring GWR’s campaign! Of interest were two new destinations – Henley and Windsor. Windsor has featured before however Henley is a new one. It depicts the River Thames there with hire boats. That for Bristol sees a different artwork and its one that’s been brought back – the balloon race which featured in the early days of the campaign. The advertising wasn’t just by the escalators but also on the digital screens that are integral adjacent to the Platform Screen Doors. Text on the escalators said: ‘Bath, Windsor, Bristol, Henley, Oxford, are all closer than you think. Thanks to the Elizabeth line you can get to Paddington, and out west in a jiffy’