When Greyhound launched its new Boltbus service, the company wanted to challenge all the prevailing stereotypes about bus travel in the competitive Northeastern market.
To do this, the company launched an effort touting its new premium bus service to the region's mobile consumers, including some who are not considered traditional bus travelers. Yet, the outreach and messaging focused on bringing mystique to bus travel, and making it hip. Greyhound turned to its AOR Edelman to help bring Boltbus' name to the media.
"We wanted to show that bus travel can actually be cool," says Kim Plaskett, communications director at Greyhound. This meant promoting Boltbus' differentiators, like its free wireless, extended legroom, $1 fares, and non-stop destinations.
"We were developing a campaign that would really generate buzz... especially among bloggers, because a lot of our target customers are online," she notes.
Outreach targeted college students and commuters - groups not traditionally known to use bus services.
To deliver its message, Greyhound focused on pop culture bloggers with a strong Northeastern presence, like the Gothamist, the DCist, and Daily Candy. The team also pitched the story to local TV stations, daily and community newspapers, and national media outlets.
The campaign resulted in 90,000 customers for Boltbus, exceeding the company's expectation, Plaskett says.
The total of print, broadcast, and online media resulted in more than 136 million impressions. In addition to local coverage, national media like Fox News also covered the new line launch.
Greyhound continues to work with Edelman and is currently considering expanding the line to new markets. "It's something that we are going to consider and we'll have to examine any target markets very carefully before we make any plans," Plaskett adds.
PR team: Greyhound (Dallas, TX) and Edelman (San Francisco)
Campaign: Boltbus launch
Duration: March-May 2008
Budget: about $80,000