Creating Demand: Hornby, Model Trains

Hornby Experiential

Never let it be said that we go easy on ourselves…this week we’ve been paying attention to Hornby’s £8.3 million takeover of Corgi International Limited.

Hornby, for those of you who don’t know or can’t remember, are most famous for making model trains, whilst Corgi are best celebrated for their toy cars.

Why does this interest us? Well…

Horby is hoping to “further strengthen” the brand’s product image as well as “grow the scale of our business rapidly and drive it forward.”

This smacks of an impending push to us so, as usual, we put our minds to sketching out an experiential campaign doing just that. Here’s what we came up with…

First of all we’d generate interest pre-launch (we’re presuming that any push will involved the launch of a new product or, in the case of a merger, the new company itself) with the help of some strategic partnerships with a major train company and black cabs in all major cities.

The vehicles belonging to these companies would be decorated in Hornby/Corgi livery and, where possible, would be adapted internally to reflect the correct livery also. As an alternative, the trains and taxis would simply be branded with the words “Hornby” and “Corgi” and a merger date.

This passive advertising but targeted advertising in the early part of the campaign would increase public awareness of the impending merger and marketing push.

We would, in the week running up to the launch and in the days immediately afterward, run a special rickshaw service in the centre of major cities. These rickshaws would be mocked up to resemble classic corgi models (and we’d have to find some way of making that street legal…) and the operators would be trained to evangelise the brand during journeys.

As the launch came around we would organise and execute promotional days within the biggest toy shops in all the UK’s major cities. These days would take the form of very hands-on events with adults and children alike being encouraged to interact with expert-built displays and invited to attend model railway building masterclasses. All the expected and associated events of in-store promotional days would be present – from prize draws to model railway building competitions.

Coming at another angle, and designed to appeal to the adult toy collector, we would organise and mount an exhibition of Corgi and Hornby models throughout their history. Model cars and trains can be exceedingly valuable and we would seek to negotiate with the UK’s foremost collectors to allow us to use their collections for this exhibition. It would run from several days before launch until several days after.

This exhibition would be staged in Trafalgar Square (yes, we know that might be difficult – but it can be done!) and would take place in several modified railway carriages that had been renovated and installed for the purpose.

The night of the launch itself would be marked by fireworks and an organised party in the Square itself, which would give rise to yet more interest.

Finally, we would sustain this interest in the days after launch (thus further reinforcing brand awareness) by dispatching special Hornby toy buses throughout the country vending special edition toys that were totally unavailable elsewhere and only created for the duration of the promotional activity (naturally we’d have made mention of this fact on local radio stations wherever they pitched up…) wherever they travelled.

And if that didn’t do it, nothing would!

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