Going Underground

07 November 2016

For many people who go on to become race crew, the eye-catching posters across the London Underground and National Rail networks have been the driving force in bringing the adventure to their attention and getting them to sign up.

Recently, the reintroduction of large format, cross-track billboards has complemented the more frequently seen four-sheet posters calling for people to ‘Achieve Something Remarkable’ or ‘Change Your Commute’.

Around 38 per cent of Clipper 2015-16 Race crew recalled seeing the ad on the underground, or cited it as their primary source of where they found out about the race.

Katharine Schäfli, head of brand at Clipper Ventures, said: "The image of the 70 foot ocean racing yacht really catches our attention and imagination. Bearing down on us from across the platform, it triggers the natural curiosity of everyone who wants to achieve something remarkable in their life.

“The idea resonates well with people from all walks of life, and around the world. ‘Could This Be You?’ has compelled many commuters to look into the adventure. Often the crew recruits will tell us they have seen the advertising over several years, then one day they see the ad again and feel compelled to sign up for the race - perhaps on a dreary Monday morning whilst commuting to the office,” Katharine added.

The confronting nature of the 50/50 campaign poster showing people in their normal profession then as an ocean racer has also been hugely successful. As many as 40 per cent of race crew have never sailed before training so for many it is the appeal of stepping outside of their comfort zone and challenging themselves that attracts them to the extreme ocean adventure.

The increased sophistication of available data means we can now reach our target audience with pin-point accuracy. In 2015, we commissioned Exterion to compare the available Mosaic data drawn from the thousands of adults in the UK who had either shown interest in becoming Clipper Race crew** or successfully signed up for the Clipper 2015-16 Race.

The ambition of the Clipper Race is to be accessible to people from all walks of life, spanning three generations and across the globe. The insight learned from the available data has helped us fine tune our creative copy, and better understand the interests and media habits of our crew.

The average time commuters spend on the platform engaging with cross-track ads is around three minutes. In the recent campaign, 16 stations in central London were selected, reaching a possible 2.8 million people each day [1]. By combining both the improved dwell time of cross track with greater reach and frequency offered by the smaller 4 and 6 sheet formats which are seen in close proximity, we can achieve both high levels of engagement and also broad awareness.

The London Underground also plays a role in broadening the international appeal of the Clipper Race. Adventure-minded crew from across Europe and further afield find the posters really stand out and capture their imagination.

David Cusworth Director of Crew Recruitment comments “In the early days of the Clipper Race around 90 per cent of our crew came from the UK.

“That figure has now dropped with almost 40% coming from over 40 nations around the globe. The multi-cultural aspect of the race has added to the challenge but also to the energy and reward.”

Much of the appeal is through word of mouth and the enormous amount of press coverage each edition of the race generates around the globe.

Katharine concluded: “Increasingly we use digital channels to generate awareness of key events surrounding the Clipper Race, especially when there are opportunities for the public to get close to the fleet, or on board the yachts. In the future and with augmented reality and 360 video films now quite common place, we can look toward to finding exciting formats with Exterion that continue our journey together.”

Follow the story of the production of the cross track 48 sheet billboards for the London Underground Campaign here.

[1]Source: ExterionMedia/TFL