All posts in Merseyrail

BLOG: Firsts

by Wayne Stuart

This piece was meant to be written just after Christmas 2015, but with the weight of work and pace of life, here it is two months late, not too bad. It’s fortunate that this piece is late because it was based on two 'firsts' for us, which turned into three. The first of the firsts was an installation at the fabulous Our Lady Immaculate Primary School. We were asked to create designs for a stained glass window for their new chapel at the school, something inspirational for the children, something calming and thought provoking. A unique and absorbing challenge! They didn't want anything overtly religious but it had to have a religious feeling. We immediately thought of the stunning windows at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. When a couple of designs were rejected we finally took inspiration from an act that takes place, shapes our everyday lives and can be called miraculous… daybreak. That early morning sunrise that is referred to as ‘heavenly glory’. The finish was created with a permanent vinyl which can be enjoyed inside and out. The effect when it captures the light is truly inspirational and thanks to the vision of OLI is something we are immensely proud of. The second of the firsts was our first Christmas campaign for Merseyrail. Winning a competitive pitch is always a huge boost, but when the client has the same vision you have when faced with a simple sketch and a head full of ideas. It tells you that they have faith and trust in the agency. This was a true team effort, and thanks to the fantastic CGI work from Justin Metz, a simple sketch became quite magical and life like. We wanted to bring an old fashioned charm and Disney-esq magic back to Christmas and thanks to everyone involved we think it really worked. Our third first was the creation and production of a child's activity book. A simple yet effective piece of design that communicates important safety messages about the Merseyrail network. Colouring in, spot the difference and bespoke nursery rhymes are brought together with original illustrations and characters created to engage and inform a young audience, and with the added bonus of giving the Accounts team something challenging to do in their lunch hour!  

What we have been up to in 2016

Here are some examples of our most recent work...

What’s the big idea?

by Wayne Stuart

We are asked how we come up with the solution to client’s briefs, so I thought I’d do just that that using the Merseyrail M campaign. Merseyrail invited us in to pitch for their NPS Awareness campaign; this is an opportunity for Merseyrail to inform their customers of the good works and improvements they have made on the network. The creative had to be able to carry multiple messages, be engaging and most off all memorable. Our starting point was to find out just how much work Merseyrail had put into improving it’s service and it’s image, what came really clearly is how much they cared, for the well being of both their customers and their staff. We wanted to create a personality for them, but with so many people working there just who could we choose, we certainly didn’t want to copy Halifax by choosing a Howard (remember him?) character or photo fit profile of everyone, that would be just too weird. You may think our solution was just as far fetched but we thought M could embody the spirit and nature of the entire corporation, plus it was a great exercise in brand re-enforcement.


A very early sketch of him was agreed in house and it was then I thought of the big hug advert, I just loved the idea of Merseyrail having a warming, comforting presence. That big hug campaign tried to communicate in pictures just how comforting having a warm mug of soup really is, well for me keeping people safe, secure, warm and well fed and watered and providing a good service is exactly the same.


The next step was to decide on how he/she looked, would it be soft, squidgy, smooth or fluffy, you’d be surprised just how passionate people felt about the final look. We brought in one of the digital creative from Firesprite, a games developer in Liverpool, to help us finalise the look and feel.

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Just as I was feeling very happy with the final creative I saw this.


Now let me tell you, I wasn’t involved in Disney’s creative approach to this new release and I certainly wasn’t spied upon by their creative director (although that would have been ace) no, this was just a coincidence and one we were quite happy with as we hoped people may see their creative and think of ours. After a successful pitch we were given the good news and it was full swing into production. The real beauty of the campaign was how flexible it was without any disruption to Merseyrail or their staff. We even drafted in members of staff as models to save on costs and time and I’m sure you’ll agree they are quite a good-looking bunch.

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Cameras at the Ready!

by Rachel Slater

We've been busy, busy, busy here at Clarity over the past few days. After winning the Merseyrail campaign last week, we got started straight away. Some of the team put their modelling skills to the test when they took a trip down to Sandhills train station and transformed the platform into the set for our photo shoot. Despite the wind, rain and freezing conditions, we battled through and ended up with a shot that was exactly what the client was aiming for. We wanted an image for the campaign that was going to allow us to promote the range of saver tickets available with Merseyrail. The creative team came up with the concept of showing various types of people standing waiting for a train and what they’ll be doing with the money they've saved by purchasing a saver ticket. The shoot features a passenger who has a railpass so saves for ballroom dancing, one who has saved enough to purchase some new wellies for Glastonbury because of her student pass and another passenger whose railpass saves her enough time of a morning to grab a coffee on the way. The overall slogan is “Great value on every journey, every day for everyone”, reinforcing the wide range of passes and savings available. Later on in the day, we also carried out a similar shoot in the Walker art gallery which included different people saving their money for different things – custard creams even got a mention. We think the campaign successfully gets Merseyrail’s message across in an engaging way and we had a whole lot of fun making it too! See if you can spot the posters in the coming weeks at train stations across the network.

Happy Monday

by Emma Heylings

Monday morning was brightened with the good news that we had been awarded yet another campaign for Merseyrail following a competitive pitch process. For many, Christmas results in overspending and the new year requires a re-assessment of finances. With this in mind, we have been tasked by Merseyrail to produce a Value For Money campaign to engage with commuters, students and day users to promote how they might help them save money. The pitch development stage was fun as Merseyrail wanted agencies to produce an eye catching, visually different ad campaign which got our creative’s excited! The campaign is due to start in January 2014 - watch this space.

We can’t help it

by Phillip Ramsey

Much debate in the office today as the creative team took us through some new work they were developing for Merseyrail. Comments and opinions aplenty as everyone had a say about what they thought would work best. I wouldn't have it any other way. It struck me that while we don't exactly come to blows, the team do argue vehemently about what will work best because they all want to do the very best job possible for our clients. We spend a lot of time considering and testing our work before the client sees it because we want it to be right and, ultimately, communicate a specific message clearly to elicit the response intended. Working days can be exhausting, more so when there is furious debate about the latest piece of work. But, when we achieve great outcomes that the client loves, it is all worthwhile.

Liverpool Central closure

How do you tackle the prospect of informing thousands of rail users the largest underground station in the city is to close for five months? Here’s how we did it. We introduced a campaign that positions Liverpool Central as a person. Somebody who needs to change for the better, to fit into the ever-changing environment, answering the needs of an increased audience (2009/10, 18.413 million) and that of a city with a global presence. This being a completely positive closure for those involved. By placing Liverpool Central in the ‘first person’ we can communicate their desire to change and can convey those messages in an appealing and heartfelt manner, giving the station a personality that enables it to deliver difficult messages in a warm and caring voice. This in turn allowed Merseyrail the ability to reach out to its customer base on a warm, friendly and caring level. Utilising traditional and social media across a variety of platforms this is a truly integrated campaign that has caught the imagination of the public and those who travel by train on a daily basis. To keep in the loop visit