FirstGroup has awarded the £24m media planning and buying for First Rail, which includes Great Western Railway, South Western Railway and TransPennine Express, to the7stars.

The7stars takes over from Wavemaker and will become responsible for managing the group’s media planning and buying strategy, with ads aimed at driving up passenger numbers. The win follows a four-way pitch against agencies including the incumbent.

The group’s various operators are in the midst of improving their networks and services. Great Western Railway has replaced much of its fleet with new trains. TransPennine Express, which operates across northern England and Scotland, is investing £500m in new services, more seats and new trains, while South Western Railway is in the process of boosting the number of seats on services by 30%.

Creative for Great Western Railway is handled by Adam & Eve/DDB, which created a campaign in October 2018 based on Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five books, entitled “Five and the missing jewels”.

Liam Mullins, the7stars’ managing partner, said: “We are excited to bring our data, digital and technology-first approach to FirstGroup communications to get more of the UK travelling by rail than ever before.”


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