Creative Effectiveness Eurobest Award

Case Film

Presentation Image

Product/ServiceGERMAN RAIL
Category A03. Travel, Leisure, Retail, Restaurants & Fast Food Chains
Idea Creation OGILVY GERMANY Frankfurt, GERMANY
Additional Company DEUTSCHE BAHN AG Berlin, GERMANY
Name Company Position
Dr. Stephan Vogel Ogilvy Creative Chairman
Bjoern Bremer Ogilvy Chief Creative Officer
Peter Roemmelt Ogilvy Executive Creative Director, Copywriter
Simon Oppmann Ogilvy Creative Director
Sinya Horwedel Ogilvy Art Director, Copywriter, Graphic Design
Juan Sanchez Ogilvy Art Director, Graphic Designer
Julia Kohlenberger Ogilvy Art Director
Axel Tagg Ogilvy Art Director
Francesca Pinheiro Ogilvy Copywriter
Roland Stauber Ogilvy Account Management
Florian Bader Ogilvy Account Management
Sara Iantorno Ogilvy Account Management
Carla Funk Ogilvy Strategy
Magdalena Bulle Ogilvy Art Buyer
Martina Diederichs Ogilvy Art Buyer
Maximilian Wagner Ogilvy Graphic Designer
Gabriel Franke Ogilvy Post Production
Andreas Wiens Ogilvy Post Production
Benjamin Siebert Ogilvy Post Production
Elena Jaber Ogilvy Post Production
Joachim Becker Ogilvy Post Production
Margarite Heimbuch Ogilvy Post Production
Mikel Regulez Spirable Contextual Video Platform
Paul Brown Spirable Contextual Video Platform
Julia Janssen Deutsche Bahn AG Client
Pia Schmitt Deutsche Bahn AG Client
Dr. Thomas Kemper Deutsche Bahn AG Client
Sophie Vizethum Deutsche Bahn AG Client


Deutsche Bahn is Germany’s national rail company. Like all rail businesses it has busy times, and times when there are empty carriages. To attract off-peak users in low-demand months, DB release Super Saver tickets twice a year: tickets to any destination in Germany, for just €19. But Super Savers come with restrictions and these affect demand. They’re only available for February and November, only for certain days and times, and subject to exclusions on exchanges, cancellations and connections. It’s one thing to visit another city in Summer, but another on a wet November Wednesday. Consequently, many tickets went unsold. BUSINESS –Help increase Deutsche Bahn’s off-peak, off-season revenue (sales success). –KPI: +5% ticket sales MARKETING –Persuade more people to buy Super Saver tickets (behaviour breakthrough). KPI: +5% purchase intent COMMUNICATIONS –Create impact and engagement by challenging preconceptions that domestic travel is boring (influential idea) –KPIs: year-on-year improvements across attitudinal/engagement metrics

Summary of the work

BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT Despite remarkably low pricing, demand for Super Savers fell short. With a Frankfurt-Berlin ticket costing €190 and a regular Saver for the same journey costing €70, Deutsche Bahn’s €19 Super Savers offer incredible value. Competitively priced with even the cheapest intercity buses they offer a far superior travel experience. Yet many of the tickets released each year went unsold. CREATIVE CHALLENGE How to stimulate demand for Super Saver tickets at times when most people don’t want to travel, for an audience that finds German destinations boring – with a budget cut in half! We needed to identify an audience receptive to the idea of cheap tickets, and available to travel at times many would find inconvenient. Then we had to use creativity to persuade them that what they really wanted was an out-of-season trip to somewhere in Germany. The most promising targets were 2.23 million pre- and post-family metropolitans aged 25-59. But in an age of international travel, in a country where 72% prefer to spend their holidays abroad, many of these people were uninspired by the idea of domestic travel. Trying to sell them excursions to Bremen or Dusseldorf wasn’t going to be easy. And with a budget cut from €4.2m to €2.3m it was going to be harder still. SOLUTION Insight meets algorithms to uncover ‘exotic’ German destinations. By examining our audiences’ social media posts we found many pictures of the kinds of exotic places they were interested in visiting – pictures they had either posted, liked or shared. Using search algorithms, we then scanned millions of online images to see if we could find similar scenes at home in Germany. We were as surprised as anyone to discover that whatever your ‘perfect’ travel destination, anywhere in world, you could visit something extraordinarily similar right here in Germany, with no need for an expensive flight. The message of the campaign: No Need To Fly. EXECUTION No Need To Fly, an innovative Facebook campaign with the first-ever personalised real-time social media price comparisons. It created the desire that made the cost savings make sense. We used the bulk of our €2.3m budget to continue the long-running Super Saver campaign. We also used €70,000 to create a new social media campaign tailored for our ‘bullseye’ target audience. Through social media profiling, we identified audiences interested in particular ‘exotic’ locations. Using geotargeting, we worked out how far each individual audience member lived from the nearest airport, and the real-time price of the cheapest available flight to their chosen destination. Then we created real-time price comparisons with almost-identical locations in Germany. You live in Munich, for example, and want to go to Guilin, China, the cheapest available flight might be €1,750. But you can enjoy a near-identical view in Kromlau, Saxony, with a €19 Super Saver. DESPITE A SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER BUDGET THE CAMPAIGN INCREASED REVENUE BY AN ASTONISHING €28MILLION, A RETURN OF €63.90 FOR EVERY €1 – MORE THAN DOUBLE THE PREVIOUS YEAR’S RATIO!

Engagement & Awareness

NO NEED TO FLY SHOWS THE POWER OF A GREAT CREATIVE IDEA, DELIVERING EXCEPTIONAL LEVELS OF CUT-THROUGH AND ENGAGEMENT ON A SMALL BUDGET AWARENESS (See Figure 1) Despite a significant budget reduction 2018’s campaign produced double-digit awareness increases, with campaign recall jumping from 40% to 50% and product recall soaring from 32% to 54%. Previous years’ campaigns had focussed on pricing rather than destinations, with messages like ‘fast and cheap with the ICE’ and ‘small prices, big pleasure.’ – AD IMPRESSIONS. The Facebook advertising was seen 8.6 million times during the course of the campaign. – REACH. Each member of our ‘bullseye’ audience saw the content an average of 1.79 times. Prompted advertising recall increased from 40% to 50%, while spontaneous product recall jumped an astonishing 22% (source: Kantar TNS). ENGAGEMENT (See Figures 2 and 3) No Need to Fly significantly outperformed engagement benchmarks with a View Through Rate 3.6 times higher than the benchmark for German rail advertising and a Click Through Rate many times higher than transport industry averages. – VIEW THROUGH RATE (VTR) more than 3.6 times higher than the benchmark German Rail (source: DB Tracking). Whenever an online ad can be skipped, people will be tempted to skip it. But the more engaging the ad, the fewer will skip it and the more will choose to watch it all the way through to the end. – CLICK THROUGH RATE (CTR) for Facebook video more than double transport industry benchmarks (source: Social Bakers). If people are particularly engaged by a Facebook ad they will click through to find out more. The number of people who clicked through to watch the No Need to Fly Facebook videos far exceeded both the benchmarks for other travel industries, and DB’s own previous Super Saver campaign. More than this, CTR for No Need to Fly was 8.5 times higher than the previous campaign! – CONVERSION RATE more than twice the benchmark. The 2017 Conversion Rate benchmark was 3.05%, No Need to Fly achieved 6.61%. REASONS FOR THE HIGH LEVELS OF ENGAGEMENT Insight plus automisation and personalisation. The campaign was built on a solid foundation of audience insight. But in addition to this, it used technology to automise and personalise each ad for individual audience members, so what each person saw wasn’t just a generic comparison between somewhere abroad and somewhere in Germany – it was a personal comparison based on a real-time price-check from their nearest airport. We were able to measure the impact of automation on engagement through the use of control ads, which used the same side-by-side creative technique but without the real-time automation.

Social Behaviour & Insight

FOR AN AUDIENCE OF INTERNATIONAL TRAVELLERS, EVEN €19 TICKETS WEREN’T ENOUGH TO STIMULATE INTEREST IN DOMESTIC RAIL TRAVEL. BUT BY HARNESSING AN INSIGHT INTO THE POWER OF SELFIES AND TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY AS SOCIAL CURRENCY, WE DRAMATICALLY CHANGED BEHAVIOUR. BEHAVIOURAL INSIGHT For people to buy tickets, they first had to want what Germany had to offer. Previous campaigns had focussed on cheap trips to familiar cities. For people who liked the idea of a cheap midweek trip to Leipzig in the middle of February, this was a winning message. However, most of our audience had higher expectations of their leisure time, and weren’t excited by the idea of off-season German city breaks, which seemed a poor substitute for ‘real’ travel. “Why should I go on holiday in the country I live in? What’s the news value for me?” “There is nothing I can experience. I know the culture, the food, the people and the nature.” “It’s not cool to tell your friends you stayed in Germany during your holidays when others are travelling around the world.” To change their behaviour and persuade them to buy tickets, we realised that we first had to find a way to make them want what Germany had to offer. SOCIAL INSIGHT An audience that uses selfies and travel images as social currency. Our audience weren’t interested in German travel, but they were interested in international travel and they actively use images of exotic places they’ve visited to gain status and to strengthen connections within their social group. Research told us that 80% take at least one selfie a day when they are travelling (source: Kayak, 2018). Travellers under 45 post photos on social networks an average of four times a day. One in ten said they post vacation photos to make others jealous (source: Aviva, 2017). And with the abolition of roaming charges in the EU (15. July 2017), the flood of travel photos increased even more. STRATEGIC SOLUTION We can match those amazing selfie-inspiring places here in Germany! Looking at our audience’s travel photos, we started to see parallels with lesser-known parts of Germany. Using image-search algorithms we discovered that for every exotic location our audience longed to visit, you could find something remarkably similar right here at home. HOW BEHAVIOUR CHANGED. Through insight we changed hearts, minds – and behaviour. “It’s suddenly cool to spend your holidays in Germany.” Markus Aspetzberger, German Tourism Association As the next section demonstrates, the campaign created increases in awareness and interest which led to sustained increases in desire and purchase intent. The result was that an audience who thought they’d moved on from domestic travel started booking tickets to German destinations. For ten years, the number of holidays and breaks taken by Germans in their own country had been static, never falling below 53.4 million and never rising above 2013’s peak of 54.8 million. In 2018 the number hit 55 million. In 2019 it climbed to 55.2 million (source: Statista 2021, see figure 4).

Brand Affinity & Sentiment

THE CAMPAIGN CREATED SIGNIFICANT YEAR-ON-YEAR UPLIFTS ACROSS ALL AFFINITY AND SENTIMENT MEASURES. IMPACT OF THE ADVERTISING ON ATTITUDES AND PURCHASE INTENT Compared with the same period in 2017, the 2018 advertising created significant uplifts across all affinity measures. The impact of the campaign ladders up all the way from generating awareness of the brand and its advertising to stimulating purchase intent for Deutsche Bahn’s long-distance services. In each case the scores following the 2018 No Need To Fly campaign significantly exceeded those for the same time the previous year, despite the fact that the same tickets were both on offer and promoted in the same periods in 2017. AWARENESS of advertising increased from 40% to 50%. INTEREST in train rides sparked by Deutsche Bahn advertising increased from 20% to 27%. DESIRE to use trains increased from 19% to 24%. INTENT TO ACT (“I will use Deutsche Bahn’s long-distance service in the near future”) increased from 11% to 13%. See Figure 5

Sales Success

Between 2017 and 2018 the communications budget for the Super Saver campaign was cut almost in half. 2017 budget: €4.2 million 2018 budget: €2.3 million Difference: –€1.9 million 2018’s campaign was broadly the same as 2017’s – BUT with important differences. In 2018 the bulk of the €2.3 million budget was spent on price-led executions with messages like ‘fast and cheap with the ICE’ and ‘small prices, big pleasure.’ However, €70,000 of the budget was used to create the targeted and automated No Need To Fly campaign, which both highlighted the price savings and stimulated desire for the destinations. BETWEEN 2017 AND 2018 REVENUE FROM SUPER SAVER TICKET SALES INCREASED BY AN ASTOUNDING €28 MILLION. Sales of Super Saver tickets had been static for some years. In November 2017, sales of Super Saver totalled €119 million. By November 2018 that figure had increased to €147 million, an incremental revenue of €28 million. FIGURE 6 ILLUSTRATES THE RELATIVE CHANGES IN BUDGET AND REVENUE The campaign was more than twice as effective in generating revenue compared with the previous year’s work. In 2017 an overall spend of €4.2m produced €119m revenue = €28.33 revenue per € spent. In 2018 an overall spend of €2.3m produced €147m revenue = €63.9 revenue per € spent. This was more than double the equivalent 2017 ratio. Interestingly, the bulk of 2018’s budget still went on the price-led approach taken in 2017. But without creating desire for the destinations, its impact was limited. The power of No Need To Fly was that it created that desire. This meant that it both drove revenue increase in itself, and put ‘traditional’ price-led work in a context where consumers actually wanted the destinations that were on offer. In addition, the greater effectiveness of the campaign led to significant cost reductions Cost per click for No Need To Fly 2018: €0.38 Cost per click for benchmark Super Saver ticket campaign 2017: €0.64 Cost reduction: 40% ALL FINANCIAL FIGURES IN THIS SECTION ARE STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL AND NOT FOR PUBLICATION


This campaign had an extraordinary impact on the market. For years, sales of Super Saver tickets had fallen short of targets. For a ticket price of just €19 to any destination in Germany, and with the famous speed and reliability of Germany’s rail transport, a new generation of international flyers just weren’t interested in domestic travel. But by getting under the skin of consumer psychology and the interpersonal dynamics of selfies in the social media age, we achieved the seemingly impossible and served up homegrown German attractions that would look every bit as good on a millennial’s Facebook feed as Thai beaches or US deserts. On top of this we harnessed the power of technology to personalise each consumer’s experience of the advertising, with real-time price comparisons based on the airport nearest to their actual location. The advertising worked on two levels. It highlighted the amazing value of Deutsche Bahn’s Super Saver tickets. And it helped create the missing desire for travel to German destinations. This crucial desire-building component enabled the No Need To Fly campaign to work on its own terms, and to provide a foundation of desire which enabled Deutsche Bahn’s traditional price-driven advertising to work harder. The results speak for themselves. The No Need To Fly campaign achieved measurable uplifts across every metric and KPI. Most importantly, it increased revenue from ticket sales by an extraordinary €28 million. And it did all this on a budget little more than half of that allocated in 2017. Deutsche Bahn love the campaign and its insightful and innovative approach. Following the campaign’s success in 2018 we ran the work again in 2019 but adding an extra reason to travel by train – not just the cost saving, but the reduction in CO2 emission. This allowed us to turn the conversation on its head: from what people have to sacrifice to reduce their carbon footprint, to what they can positively experience instead.

Discounting Factors

PRODUCT. The Super Saver ticket in 2018 was identical to previous years. It offered the same travel benefits and was subject to the same restrictions on booking, exchanges and refunds. PRICING. The €19 price was exactly the same as in 2017. DISTRIBUTION. There was no change in the number of physical or online outlets from which the ticket could be purchased. COMPETITION. There was no reduction in competition from other travel providers. The competition from cut-priced intercity bus services had actually been increasing since 2013, when anti-competition laws protecting DB’s long-distance services were repealed.