Sweetheart Saver

Organisers: Megabus, Tin Man Communications, Raygun London, Atomik Research

What it is:

Low-cost British coach operator Megabus kicked off its first ever PR campaign with the objective of creating an emotional resonance for the brand, providing people with another reason to travel with Megabus besides cheap tickets. At the same time it was intended to profile Megabus as the obvious go-to choice for students, one of the main target demographics for Megabus’s budget travel model.

Megabus commissioned research which showed that students in long-distance relationships in the UK spend nearly £5,000 a year on keeping love alive, including £163 a month on travel. Based on this research, Megabus announced that it was trialling a “Sweetheart Saver” ticket, offering ten couples free travel between two destinations for a year. A three-minute promotional video to support the new ticket type documented a real-life love story showing the trials of long-distance romance.

Why we like it:

By featuring the story of a real couple, who could articulate the difficulties of long-distance relationships, Megabus brought more authenticity to their campaign than any form of celebrity endorsement or collaboration ever could. The campaign was a great way of showing that cheap travel can do more than just save money – for couples like the one in the film it is absolutely essential. With Megabus’s study also revealing the sad fact that nearly one-third of student relationships fail due to the cost of travel, the Sweetheart Saver campaign profiled the brand as a lifeline for young couples across the country. What better way to win customers’ hearts?

PR Guru comment:

“Megabus is known for special price deals – it is a bit like Ryanair, only for shorter distances. Although this campaign is based on research, it contains the essence of real (love) stories, capturing the emotions of thousands of students. It transforms Megabus’s blue coaches from ordinary vehicles into bringers of love. Unfortunately, the Covid crisis completely changed the conditions for travelling in the UK. But I am curious to see how Megabus will continue with this story after the pandemic. Because the love story goes on...”

– Pavel Vlček

Pavel Vlček is President of the Association of Mobile Network Operators and Chairman of the Executive Board of the PR Klub
Photos: Megabus