SNCF opens the door to European destinations

SNCF opens the door

Continuing his weekly quest for great marketing ideas Joss Davidge, managing partner of brand experience agency BEcause, looks at how SNCF is embracing experiential marketing to get people booking holidays.
Most travel operators and tourist destinations lean heavily on the idea of ‘getting away’ and experiencing something new when talking to potential holiday-makers. To lure in business, they focus on cultural differences, relaxation, dining experiences, things to see, escapism. It makes sense, it taps into some of the core reasons we decide to travel for leisure and creates an emotional connection with the consumer.  
But as a travel provider how do you stand out in a crowded market? How do you engage with consumers and encourage them to travel with you? French rail network SNCF has taken to experiential marketing over the last couple of years and has created some brilliant campaigns that tap into the zeitgeist of travel and put the company on the map as a way to travel to top European hotspots.
The most recent SNCF campaign connected people with key European destinations by allowing people to physically open the door to another city. Under the banner 'Europe is just next door' SNCF delighted people with a witty campaign that struck a chord with consumers. It created a connection not only between the consumer and the location, but also with SNCF – placing it as a company that could make it into a reality.

This campaign follows on from SNCF’s 2012 offering, a chance for residents of Leon to ‘put their head in Brussels’.
Finally, in this little homage to SNCF’s experiential acumen, here is 'The Escape Machine' from 2011. That provided a bizarre, but memorable street celebration that got people talking about SNCF’s travel agency, SNFC Voyages.

Last week, we rounded up the best experiential marketing activations from alcohol brands over the past year – this from Bud Light will certainly make the cut for the next round up! 

Joss Davidge is managing partner of BEcause, an award winning brand experience agency which has been helping brands become more tried, tested and talked about for over 20 years.

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