Cannes Lions

The Escape Train

TBWA\HELSINKI, Helsinki / VR FINNISH RAILROAD COMPANY / 2018

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Case Film
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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Description

In the fall of 2017, a classic night train story was making a comeback to the cinemas, with the release of the 20th Century Fox hit film Murder on the Orient Express in November.

With the anticipation of the new film running high, we saw the opportunity to draw the spotlight towards VR’s night trains by bringing the fictional murder mystery to life.

Simultaneously, data demonstrated an increased popularity towards escape rooms, something no other brand in Finland had yet utilized as part of their marketing communications.

So we created the Escape Train – a 13-hour escape room game set on a night train journeying 1 000 kilometers across the country, with a storyline based loosely on Murder on the Orient Express.

Execution

The campaign began with a teaser film that was spread organically on Facebook and Twitter and seeded especially to the entertainment and movie media.

A recruitment site was opened for potential competitors to apply to play in the game. The hype was then built up with video clips of the chosen players preparing for the upcoming challenge.

The game itself was live-streamed in a reality-TV style on Facebook, YouTube, and on Iltalehti.fi, one of Finland’s leading news sites. Viewers could alter the course of the game real-time, by voting on Facebook reactions, using again a recognizable reality-TV feature.

In addition, the game’s cinematic storyline could be followed on Facebook and Instagram stories, which were updated throughout the night. More than 50 clips were pre-shot to enrich the live-stream. With player introductions, character background information, and regular updates on the game’s status, the audience was entertained throughout the journey.

Outcome

From the release of its first teasers, Escape Train generated unprecedented interest. Over 3,000 Finns applied to participate on the 13-hour trip, over an application period of two days.

The campaign generated more than 40 000 000 impressions in earned media, and reached over 6 000 000 people organically on social media.

The live-stream gained 123,000 views, more than Murder on the Orient Express during its first 5 weeks in theaters. The engagement rate on the Finnish Railways social channels rose to 6.7 %, nearly a threefold increase to the brand average.

Finally, December marked a year-on-year growth of 8 % in ticket sales, meaning that holiday trains left jam-packed for their annual journey up North.

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