Category B03. Posters
Name Company Position
Moray Macdonald Weber Shandwick Managing Director, EMEA Studios
Dale Watkins Weber Shandwick Creative Director
Kevin Biggins Weber Shandwick Designer
Jim Moore Weber Shandwick Senior Project Manager
Nick Hanlon Weber Shandwick Senior Manager
Thom Watt Weber Shandwick Associate Director
Lorna Irvine Weber Shandwick Manager
Kim Thain Caledonian Sleeper Marketing Manager
Barney Evison Flipside Digital strategist


Caledonian Sleeper was set to introduce its new fleet of overnight trains between London and Scotland, replacing 40-year-old stock and a very tired service. The new product – the result of a £150m investment – was set to transform the rail industry; we needed to drive awareness, engagement and sales, in the face of the cheaper and faster air travel option. The poster brief that began as almost an afterthought amid the complexity of an all-encompassing integrated campaign was transformed by the team into powerful branded content that sat at the helm of the re-launch of this almost-forgotten service. The initial ask was for a series of posters, for display in station lounges across the route network. The public response to the insight-based content has resulted in an additional and wholly unexpected potential revenue stream for the brand. 400 posters printed to date, with a further 4,000 planned.

Describe the creative idea (40% of vote)

Research involving the target audience – prosperous urban, older tourists, discerning travellers and business travellers – revealed that potential guests look for experiences beyond the mundane commute. The magical feeling once evoked by rail travel had been lost. Our ambition was to help Caledonian Sleeper explore and reignite that feeling. We needed to show the public that the sleeper trains, with their rich 145-year history, are not simply a means of travelling from A to B but deliver timeless experiences and help people realise their dreams. The idea behind the Dream Big campaign was to transport the audience to a bygone era, with a hint of modernity provided by the new trains, dubbed ‘hotels on wheels’; drawing on the nostalgia and romance of overnight rail travel and building on the national legacy of iconic railway graphic design. To be effective, the result would need to deliver a strong emotional pull.

Describe the execution (40% of vote)

Seven destination-based illustrations capturing the iconic landmarks of the route lay at the core of the content; with posters the railway industry’s traditional form of promotion, it was the natural medium. Released three weeks prior to the launch of the service, the graphics had to seamlessly span digital as well as traditional format. Three of the posters were transformed into animations to serve as a beacon of the entire social campaign, driving traffic to the new Caledonian Sleeper website that features the posters alongside a note from the illustrator. Extension came in the form of postcards, bundled into a bespoke, window-framed pack deliberately emulating guest experience of the breathtaking views. In addition to station lounges, the posters also adorned the walls above the beds in the double rooms of the new trains, with postcard packs placed on the beds to await travellers on the first few runs.

List the results (20% of vote)

For a poster design originally requested for station lounge walls only, the combined social reach to date stands at 450K. Purchase enquiries from the public, via social, started rolling in minutes after the illustrations went live, an unexpected measure of success that resulted in the current development of ecommerce pages, enabling purchase of the posters and postcards via the website. Since the launch, a second poster series has been commissioned featuring a further five destinations, with printing scheduled November 2019. The team is currently in talks to bring the posters to the V&A Museum of Design in Dundee for a special exhibition to celebrate the launch of the Highlands section of the service. In the month after the launch of the Dream Big campaign, that also encompassed media relations, video and short-run advertising, there was a 211% increase in website users and to date, train services have routinely sold out.