First Bus


From as far north as Aberdeen to as far south as Cornwall, First Bus is one of the UK’s biggest bus companies. Every day, they help around 1.6 million people get to school, work, or just into town for coffee with their mum. First launched in 1995, they’ve recently given their buses a major overhaul, to make every single journey feel easier and more enjoyable than ever.


It was a big year for First Bus, with a number of exciting launches in the calendar.

It was a big year for First Bus, with a number of exciting launches in the calendar. When we became their sole creative agency for Scotland, we developed a new brand position, ‘First Bus: Full of More’ and showed how we could bring these launches to life through engaging and creative activations that echoed this new statement. Lucky for us, they loved our ideas. 

New Bus Launch

Deliverables
Experiential Marketing
Animation
Video
Copywriting
Design
Photography
Social Media Campaign Management
Social Media Paid Ad Management
Advertising

The Brief

The brief? Deliver an experiential marketing activation to celebrate the launch of 75 new-and-improved buses across Glasgow as part of a multi-channel campaign. The aim? Change perceptions of bus travel by amplifying the benefits of the new fleet, including low emissions, charging points and free Wi-Fi.

  • 75%

    Scottish public transport journeys made by bus

  • 67%

    Scottish journeys made by car

  • 55%

    Use of buses in Scottish urban areas

  • 3

    Key consumer attitudes to target

  • 75

    New buses to launch

  • 3

    Months to launch the project

How we answered the brief

Bus in a Box

Do you remember Hot Wheels toys? Now, do you also remember that movie, ‘Honey, I Blew Up the Kids’? Our idea was a mixture of both. To launch the new fleet, we built a Hot Wheels-style box to house one of the new buses and create a spectacular talking-point in Glasgow’s George Square. 

New Bus Launch

We wanted to show the new buses and their key features in situ, across Glasgow. Rather than using real photography, we created colourful 3D renders of the buses, against the backdrop of famous Glasgow landmarks.

  • Experiential Marketing

    We handled all design and logistics of the ‘Bus in a Box’ idea, working overnight in George Square to ensure it launched in time for the red-eye commuters. We also worked alongside CapitalFM to create a launch event on the day, including live music, bus tours and an official team opening.

  • Animation

    We created an animated video for the ongoing bus launch campaign to be used across social media, out-of-home and digital display. This execution quickly and concisely communicated the key messages; the fact that new buses have launched, their key features, and the routes they will be used on.

  • Video

    To show the craft and care that went into each bus, we filmed a behind-the-scenes video that showed the making of the new fleet (and the people behind it all.)

  • Copywriting

    We kept the campaign line simple but personal, with ‘Your new buses have arrived’—this is because First Bus joins communities together and the relaunch was first-and-foremost, for the passengers.

    We also applied the ‘full of more’ brand position to the social launch, with messages like ‘More ease, More comfort, More eco-friendly’, for example.

  • Design

    In addition to the ‘bus in a box’ structure, we designed material for out-of-home marketing and all digital assets to advertise the campaign online.

  • Photography

    We shot lifestyle images on the day of the launch event in George Square, including the ‘bus in a box’ itself, which were then used for press, organic social and paid ads.

  • Social Media Campaign Management

    We developed content plans, including copy and assets, to push the launch across FirstBus’s regional Glasgow channels and engage their current audience. We used this as a place to house and reuse all content from the launch, including photography, live content from the event, behind-the-scenes content and campaign collateral.

  • Social Media Paid Ad Management

    We managed all paid social campaigns for the new bus launch, with multiple objectives to increase awareness, drive website traffic, boost engagement and increase passenger numbers. Our team A/B tested variations of content, messages and audience types to gather the best results.

  • Advertising

    The ‘new bus launch’ campaign was amplified across out-of-home, press, radio and Google Ads within the key regions around Glasgow. The ‘bus in a box’ campaign was advertised across press and social media.

  • 699,025

    Impressions

  • 378,873

    People reached

  • 175,295

    Engagements

  • 144,214

    Video views

We asked a number of creative agencies to pitch to us a concept we could roll out that would help do something different and eye-catching for our new bus launch. We then selected a marketing agency from the best pitch and the ‘toy box’ idea was by far the most innovative and creative idea that we saw and arguably led to one of the best bus launches of all time!

Graeme Macfarlan,
Commercial Director, First Bus

Kids Go Free

Deliverables
Design
Animation
Copywriting
Social Media Campaign Management
Social Media Paid Ad Management

How we increased ticket sales by over 50% with giant ice lollies.

First Bus created their ‘Kids Go Free’ promotion to encourage more parents to use the bus over the summer holidays and access local activities in a cost-effective way. Everything was based around this key benefit (saving money) and that by saving money on travel, parents can do more with their children. Our brief was to create a multi-channel campaign around the promotion to increase awareness and passenger numbers.

  • 8

    Weeks to run the campaign

  • 3

    Target audiences

  • 65%

    Parents share of target audience

  • 3

    Key regional markets

How we answered the brief

The Idea

Giant ice cream favourites, such as Whippy, Twisters and Fabs, were used to draw attention to the Kids Go Free offer and reflect the key benefit of saving money. The campaign was multi-channel and brought to life through 3D animation, stills and copy across 6 sheets, radio, digital and social advertising and on the bus ads such as posters and streetliners.

  • Design

    We designed and created the 3D renders of the ice lollies, which we developed into assets for digital, social media, website, bus vinyls, out-of-home and door drops. 

  • Animation

    The “never-ending” ice cream classics were animated into fun, eye-catching videos, which were used across social and digital as part of the multi-channel campaign. 

  • Copywriting

    We developed a customisable campaign line that underpinned the First Bus sign-off line ‘First Bus—Full of More’. Examples included: Do more this summer, Enjoy more this summer, See more this summer. This was supported with copy that tied in with the hero visual. 

  • Social Media Campaign Management

    First Bus have different channels for each of their key regions. We fully managed social ads throughout the campaign, including content calendars, captions, creative assets, schedule, reporting and community management. 

  • Social Media Paid Ad Management

    Our team also managed all paid ads during the campaign—developing target audiences, creating ads and constantly adjusting our approach to reach the target objectives.

  • 50.27%

    Increase in Adult FirstDay ticket sales (Glasgow & Aberdeen)

  • 129.5%

    Increase in Facebook reach

  • 454,684

    Engaged users on Facebook

  • 36,772

    Website visits

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Bright Bus Tours

Deliverables
Brand research and positioning
Brand identity and guidelines
Copywriting
Marketing strategy
Experiential launch campaign
Design, artwork and production
Videography
Social media campaign management
Digital paid ad management

How we launched a new bus brand in just three months.

The Brief

Back in April 2019, First Bus presented us with their new business plan to launch a tour service in Edinburgh. They approached us to develop the identity, positioning and also roll out a strategy. With a set launch date in early July (just in time for the Edinburgh Fringe) the entire project was to be completed in just three months. 

  • 3

    Months to launch

  • 3M

    Potential passengers at Edinburgh Fringe

  • 40%

    Edinburgh tourists from England

  • 1

    Key competitor

  • 6

    Target audiences

How we answered the brief

Bright Bus Brand

Inspired by the name, we specifically designed the Bright Bus Tour fleet to stand out from the rest. Designed with vivid, clashing, eye-catching colours and some of Edinburgh’s most iconic landmarks, you couldn’t miss them if you tried.

Bright Idea Video

For the brand film by Campfire, our content agency, we literally brightened up Edinburgh, using light and colour to illuminate landmarks around the city. From Calton Hill to the Scott Monument, we created a stylised ‘Bright Bus Style’ tour, using motion graphics to label each location, and inclusive copy that personalised the locations.

Scottish Survival Kit

Working with First Bus, we developed experiential activity for the launch and arranged street teams to walk around Edinburgh handing out ‘Scottish Survival Kits.’ We designed orange tote bags and filled them with small Scottish gifts like Irn Bru, Shortbread, Edinburgh Rock, an orange poncho and sunglasses.

  • Design

    We designed and created the 3D renders of the ice lollies, which we developed into assets for digital, social media, website, bus vinyls, out-of-home and door drops.

  • Brand Research and Positioning

    Although owned by FirstBus, Bright Bus Tours had to be a brand all on its own. Our strategy team researched the current marketplace, to find the new bus brand’s niche. From there, we delivered brand positioning and strategy. 

  • Brand Identity and Guidelines

    Naming, personality, tone of voice, logo,  visual style—you name it. We built the Bright Bus Tours brand from scratch and provided detailed guidelines for future creative.

  • Copywriting

    We developed key messages for each of the target audiences and wrote copy for all touchpoints of the Bright Bus Tours brand and campaign. Part of this included extensive key word research, which we wove into our on-site copy in order to maximise the chances of ranking for these searches.

  • Marketing Strategy

    With such a short window to launch, marketing activity had to run like a well-oiled machine. Our strategy team developed a pre-launch, launch and post-launch strategy from July-September. This gave us a structure to drum up interest on the run-up to the Fringe, and build a strong campaign, even the noise of the festival. 

  • Experiential Launch Campaign

    We created the concept of the ‘Scottish Survival Kits’ and designed a flyer with useful facts about each of the items in the bag. 

  • Design, Artwork and Production

    We designed and produced all assets for the brand, including the buses themselves, staff uniforms, tote bags digital assets, marketing materials and more, all within the 97-day turnaround. 

  • Videography

    Our content agency, Campfire, developed a treatment, shot and edited the brand film for Bright Bus Tours, managing full production and delivery from start to finish. We used the video at multiple touch points throughout the campaign. 

  • Website Design and Development

    To make it even easier for Edinburgh visitors to book a Bright Bus Tour, our digital team designed and worked with their web team to develop a landing page as part of the First Bus website. 

  • Social Media Campaign Management

    We handled all paid social media management of the campaign, from creating content, to answering questions. This content helped to support the paid ad campaign. 

  • Digital Paid Ad Management

    Our team fully managed a paid digital campaign across social, display and PPC. For social and display, we used a large suite of assets, concentrating on formats that showcased the brand and achieved high reach, high engagement and high traffic. Throughout the pre-launch, launch and post-launch periods, we adapted our approach and tested different variations of our messaging and creative to avoid ‘banner blindness’ and keep momentum on the up. 

  • 72,205,626

    Social media impressions

  • 461,972

    Social media engagements

  • 38,493

    Website visits

Glasgow Airport Express

Delivarables
Brand identity refresh
Design, artwork and production
Videography
Social media campaign management
Digital paid ad management

How we reached over 2 million people by giving the Glasgow Airport Express a new look

With the upcoming launch of their new double-decker Glasgow Airport Express buses, First Bus came to us to introduce a fresh creative approach to the existing G.A.E brand and run an ongoing, multi-channel campaign to take the service to the next level.

  • 2x

    Capacity of current route

  • 4

    Key audiences

  • 364

    Days a year

  • 9.7M

    Passengers into Glasgow airport

Go big, or go home

With a fleet of new double-deckers, we had double the amount to play with. So, we used big, in-your-face graphics and clear calls-to-action to turn the buses into billboards on the move. 

Don’t get in a flap

For the digital campaign, our idea took an iconic travel ‘visual’ and turned it into our very own information screen, able to send any message to our audience in an engaging, unique, and fun way. 

Next Time, Get the Glasgow Airport Express

Alongside our content agency, Campfire, we created a series of four videos that showed scenarios where passenger’s journeys would be easier if they took the Glasgow Airport Express. We also created a video that showed how easy the journey can be. Each character tied in with the challenges of the target audiences. 

  • Brand Identity Refresh

    The existing Glasgow Airport Express brand was already well-known by passengers from all over. With the new look, we paid homage to what once was but developed a new, refreshed look to make the new improvements known.

  • Design, Artwork and Production

    We designed and produced all assets for the new brand and the campaign, including bus wraps, animated digital assets, on-vehicle creative and marketing assets. 

  • Videography

    We worked with Campfire to develop five videos that showcased the new Glasgow Airport Express buses, with the theme ‘Next Time, Get The Glasgow Airport Express’. This involved full production, filming and editing. The videos were adapted for multiple digital touchpoints throughout the campaign. 

  • Social Media Campaign Management

    Our social team managed all aspects of the campaign on First Bus’s social channels, including content planning and copywriting, to community management and reporting. 

  • Digital Paid Ad Management

    We developed a paid digital campaign across social media, display and PPC. These ads were targeted to both local and international audiences (in relation to the popular routes at Glasgow Airport) and included multiple variations of copy and creative assets to adapt and optimise. 

  • 364,976

    Video views

  • 2,751,915

    People reached

  • 35,106

    Landing page views

  • 373,279

    Total engagements

  • 372,221

    Glasgow Airport Express Passengers

Glasgow Warriors Partnership

Delivarables
Videography
Photography
Design, artwork and production
Social media campaign management
Social media paid ad management

How we increased sales by 57.5% with an egg and spoon race.

Since 2017, First Bus have partnered with Glasgow Warriors, offering fans free bus travel to home games. Our task was to come up with a strong creative approach to promote their Glasgow Warriors partnership, highlight the free bus travel offer, raise awareness of their bus routes to Scotstoun Stadium and drive downloads of the First Bus travel app. 

  • 8

    Key platforms

  • 7

    Bus routes

  • 1

    Month to create and publish the campaign

  • 7K+

    Potential fans on route

Glasgow Warriors and First Bus Sports Day

We wanted to show how First Bus and Glasgow Warriors work together, so we filmed a video where one of the drivers teamed up with a Glasgow Warriors player for some classic sports day games, with a twist. In the end, it showed the players and drivers hopping on the First Bus route to claim their free journey using the mTickets App. 

Where’s Clyde?

As part of the campaign on social, we ran a competition called ‘Where’s Clyde?’ — viewers guessed how many times Clyde (the Glasgow Warriors mascot) was spotted in the background of the Sports Day video. 

  • Videography

    We developed the ‘sports day’ concept in-house and worked with Wandern Media to film and edit the video. The video was chopped and resized to suit multiple digital channels that were used throughout the campaign. 

  • Photography

    We shot hero visuals of the First Bus drivers with the Glasgow Warriors players to be applied across print, out-of-home and digital assets. 

  • Design, Artwork and Production

    We designed all material for the campaign, including digital assets, a full page ad in the match day programme, a big screen ad at the stadium and cross-stadium posters. 

  • Social Media Campaign Management

    Our social team managed how this campaign rolled out across the First Bus social channels. In addition to content creation, a big part of this was about engaging with followers and creating fun, interactive experiences for them to enjoy. 

  • Social Media Paid Ad Management

    We developed and delivered a strategy for paid ads across Facebook, with a focus on Glasgow and the surrounding areas. We targeted key regional audiences and retargeted those who have previously shown interest, with the aim to drive website traffic and app downloads.

  • 57.5%

    Increase in sales

  • 360%

    Increase in ticket redemptions

  • 264,458

    Total reach on social media

  • 60,938

    Video views

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