Virgin Trains UK

How a Messenger bot helped Virgin Trains to engage their nationwide audience, and find a new voice for their iconic talking toilets.
Project Objective:

Audience engagement

Client:

Virgin Trains UK

Project Completion:

January 2020

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Using bots to run a nationwide audition

Working with their agency, Cubaka, Virgin Trains wanted to find a new voice for their iconic talking toilets. With the help of an acting legend, they created a nationwide search that allowed anyone in the UK to audition using an entertaining bot on Messenger.

Over 9000 people across the country used the bot in just 4 weeks with 5209 of them (58%) auditioning by sending an audio message. 125,000 messages were automatically sent by the bot which saw 53% higher engagement that Virgin Trains average. The campaign went on to win best Social Media Campaign of the Year.

The challenge

If you’ve ever traveled with Virgin Trains then there’s a good chance you’ll have encountered their talking toilets. They’ve become an amusing but differentiating aspect of traveling with Virgin Trains, and a nod to their approach to customer service and innovation. After nearly 7 years since their introduction, it was time for an update.

Virgin Trains went to their agency, Cubaka, asking how they could find a new voice for their talking toilets. The answer – invite the public who had made Virgin Trains’ toilets so famous in the first place to audition to become the new voice – and use a Messenger bot to make the audition process as fun, entertaining and easy as possible.

The solutions

The company launched a nationwide search for their new voice – spearheaded by Eastender’s legend, Dean Gaffney, who was providing audition tips, advice and knowledge, thus ensuring every person had the best chance possible at bagging this role of a lifetime. A PR and social media campaign went live that was covered in national publications like Metro, The Express and The Daily Post. All those interested in applying were then directed to a Messenger bot through which they could submit their audition.

Users were greeted by an AI version of Dean Gaffney who provided them with details on the competition, how it worked, the audition script and submission instructions. Using the audio message feature on Messenger, they could then enter their final submission. Using Messenger created an easy and cross-platform entry mechanic that allowed users to enter privately.

The winner’s vocal styling would be heard on services across the West Coast route, giving them an audience of over 38 million passengers a year – which is more than three times the total than tuned in to last year’s Britain’s Got Talent final.

Business impact

Over 9000 people across the country used the bot in just 4 weeks with 5209 of them (58%) auditioning by sending an audio message. 125,000 messages were automatically sent by the bot which saw 53% higher engagement that Virgin Trains average, and the campaign went on to win best Social Media Campaign of the Year at UK Digital Growth Awards

Results

0
users in 4 weeks
0 %
submission rate
0 %
higher engagement rate
0 x
higher CTR
Dean Gaffney will be advising others on the audition process through GaffBott, guiding wannabes through warm ups and helping them deliver the perfect audition.
Katie Baillie
Senior Reporter at Metro.co.uk

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