16-25 Railcard: Chief Adventure Officer

The Challenge

To increase sales of the 16-25 Railcard during its peak selling period of September and October through a targeted consumer campaign.


The Idea

We needed to package ‘travel by railcard’ in a way that would appeal to viral sharing sites – our millennial bullseye media. Thus, the search for the UK’s first Chief Adventure Officer (CAO) was born. The ultimate part-time job, the 16-25 Railcard CAO, received a £10,000 salary to travel the UK for a year vlogging about their experiences. CAO hopefuls had to submit video entries via social media in order to apply, with social media users voting for the winner.


The Results

  • Targeted to deliver at least one piece of coverage on a top-tier viral sharing site, we hit gold with coverage on both LADbible (with 28m followers on Facebook) and UNILAD (with 24m Facebook followers). The UNILAD coverage alone was shared 1,100 times across social
  • Challenged to deliver three articles in wider media, we delivered 10 times that, with hits across Huffington Post, MailOnline, Guardian, Sun, Mirror, aol, msn, Metro, Cosmopolitan, Lonely Planet, Look, Style etc, gosocial.com, thenationalstudent.co.uk, udsu.co.uk and fashioninsight.co.uk
  • Asked to deliver 15 regional articles, we exceeded our target seven times over
  • Thanks to the online buzz and media attention, 763 16 to 25-year-olds submitted video applications, generating 43,000 organic video views
  • The five finalists received 12,597 votes between them

The aim was to increase website unique users during the campaign by 10% and website sessions by 10%. Instead:

  • Unique visitors increased by 21% (over 140,000 more than the same period last year)
  • Sessions increased by 18.62% (nearly 200,000 more than the same period last year)
  • 78% of online coverage included a backlink from a high domain authority site


  • The number of people arriving at the site via organic search (from increased brand awareness) increased by 18.65% and the transactions from organic search were 26.85% higher during the campaign period. People weren’t just searching for more information on the railcard, they were buying them too
  • Briefed to reduce the sales decline by one percentage point, we reduced it by two
  • This meant that (as other marketing activity ran as normal) the campaign was responsible for the sale of at least 3,500 cards @£30 each, generating an income of £105,000 in just six weeks – meaning for every £1 spent on PR, we delivered £3.60 in sales


The Awards

  • PRCA Dare Awards
    • Consumer Relations Award
  • CIPR PRIDE Awards
    • Best Use of Media Relations (gold)
    • Best Consumer Relations Campaign (silver)