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Aiken was challenged by public transport operator Translink to drive passenger numbers amongst commuters under the campaign theme Work Life’s Better, an extension of the award–winning integrated Life’s Better campaign, by developing activity to bring life to the ABL campaign.

The campaign aimed to fuel an argument in favour of travelling by Metro bus reinforcing relevance of the bus to commuters’ lifestyles by highlighting customer benefits: convenience; flexibility; practicality; value; time saving; and the health and environmental benefits.

Campaign objectives were to:

  • Demonstrate relevance of public transport to the target audiences’ lifestyle.
  • Leverage and build on the success of the Life’s Better Campaign
  • Draw on the imagery of the ABL to create a stunt to drive social media presence

Research and Planning

Aiken had three key pieces of armoury:

  • Independent 3rd party research from BMJ, University of Exeter and Greener Journeys that underpinned our insights on the physical and mental health benefits of taking the bus
  • Strong, mutually beneficial relationships with partners for joint promotions
  • A database of public transport ambassadors that we built up during the original Life’s Better Campaign.

We used these assets to drive our creative strategy. 

In developing the strategy we balanced the importance of creating a bang with our launch with a need to sustain the activity over a six month period. We punctuated the campaign period with key event moments ensuring we maintained talk–ability and media hooks around the Work Life’s better proposition. As this was a low budget campaign we looked at where we could leverage existing calendared 3rd party event moments to our advantage.



 Tactics included:

  • A timely partnership with Belfast Fashion Week
  • Creation of standout stunts to engage primary audiences and support campaign proposition
  • Recruit celebrity ambassador Brenda Shankey to host an invite only special ‘Mindfulness’ bus journey
  • Coordinate a Work Life’s better health and lifestyle event
  • Maintaining momentum through a high impact and always on media relations campaign

Online & Social Media 

  • A dedicated Work Life’s better microsite was set–up on the main Translink website and Translink’s Twitter and Facebook accounts were used to facilitate 2–way conversation around the Work Life’s better premise. A hashtag was created – #translinklifesbetter and a monthly ezine to stimulate engagement levels.

Metro Fashion Flashmob

  • For the launch, we partnered with Belfast Fashion Week to make a bigger impact with female and male commuters alike.
  • Hosted a Metro Work Life’s better work–fashion catwalk show at Europa Bus station with models dressed in the magenta colour theme of the Metro buses. 
  • Models engaged with commuters to deliver messaging on benefits of travel to work by Metro.
  • Flash mob stopped traffic providing the perfect photo call opportunity as models sashayed across an arterial route in front of Belfast’s most famous hotel, the Europa. 
  • Flash mob was videoed, tweeted and uploaded to YouTube, Translink social media; Translink ambassador social media; Visit Belfast etc.
  • Discount offered for public transport passengers travelling to event.

Metro Ministry of Funny Walks

  • To maintain momentum we continued with a three day rush hour stunt and radio promotion that turned heads and grabbed attention.
  • Recruited a group of eight male and female actors and challenged them to channel their inner ‘Monty Python’ by entertaining morning rush hour commuters through a ‘Metro Ministry of Funny Walks’ performance.
  • The group were suited and booted to reflect Metro brand colours and positioned activity in areas of high footfall across key commuter routes.
  • Radio promotion supported the on street activity and raised awareness about an exclusive offering for Metro passengers with Ground Espresso.
  • Activity engaged with a number of large city based employers such as Allstate; Cleaver Fulton Rankin and Visit Belfast with agreement in advance that the stunt group would take in their building with an opportunity for Translink’s promotional team to engage with staff arriving at work and at breakfast in the canteen. 
  • Videography and photography provided the opportunity to ensure widespread cut through.

Mindfulness Special Journey

  • Utilising the independent research we launched an exclusive bus journey on Metro on the topical theme of Mindfulness hosted by life coach and successful business woman Brenda Shankey to make a link between a healthy and happy life and public transport.
  • Brenda gave her top tips on how to start to change your life during a 15–20 minute daily journey on the bus or train. 
  • Activity was supported via Brenda Shankey, Aiken and Translink’s social media channels.

Metro Health & Lifestyle Event

  • APR launched a consumer food event in partnership with Slim’s Healthy Kitchen restaurant chain to support the Work Life’s better with Translink messaging and again leverage research findings on health benefits of public transport.
  • The event was promoted through a radio promotion and social media and took place at Belfast’s Victoria Square.
  • Slim’s Nutritionist Kathryn Fearon engaged with customers to offer advice and tips on leading a healthy lifestyle and Translink’s Maura Sloan reinforced the Work Life’s better messaging.
  • Guests were recruited through competitions – on air, online and in paper.
  • U105 & Translink staff attended on the day of the event distributing collateral to commuters, and capturing imagery & video footage for social media. 


  • An additional 521,018 passenger journeys were made during the campaign period compared to same period the previous year.
  • 2014/15 passenger numbers of over 80 million exceeded government targets of 78 million. 8,736 new social media followers (increase of 19% during campaign period) with 84% positive engagement with followers.