If you grew up in Pakistan and even had a remote interest in reading, you probably have run into the Famous Five. This intrepid team of kid-sleuths was brought to life by the creative genius of prolific children’s writer Enid Blyton.
First published as a much-needed distraction during the height of World War II in 1942, Famous Five celebrates their 75th birthday of successful crime solving this year. This is testament to how strongly the idea of a team of kid detectives has resonated with generations of children, and the franchise continues to sell over two million copies a year. In her lifetime Enid Blyton wrote 21 full length novels depicting the adventures of Julian, Dick, Anne, the tomboy Georgina (George) and their dog Timmy.
While the series had its modern-day detractors that claimed that in real life the children’s guardians would be in contravention of so many child protection laws for having allowed the children to investigate so many, often dangerous, situations, it doesn’t, however, bother the series’ growing fan base around the world. All 21 novels have been adapted for television, and translated in multiple languages and has successful spin-offs in the form of comics, board games and films.
Keeping in view the popularity of the series, the Great Western Railways (GWR) Network in Britain has used Famous Five in their latest ad campaign. The ads are animated by the animation studio and production company Friends Electric and are a brainchild of the award-winning director Pete Candeland, who has a successful body of work to his credit for brands such as BBC, Coke and Redbull.
The advertisements centre on the Famous Five travelling on the GWR when they are separated from the ever-faithful Timmy and go on a quest to find their four-legged friend. GWR claim that partnering with the Famous Five during their 75th year made perfect sense for the company, given that the five are famous literary icons of Britain and representative of life in the UK. What’s more is that South-western Britain, where the rail network runs its service, was a frequent and favourite holiday destination of the Five’s creator Enid Blyton, and the region served as an inspiration for many of her stories.
Like the franchise, the campaign is equally ambitious, targeting 21 million consumers living in the eight regions where the Great Western Railways network services destinations. The company has customised ads for each of these regions.
Amanda Burns, Head of Marketing, Great Western Railways, stated that launching the campaign at this time also made great business sense for GWR, due to a multitude of standpoints. The company have just launched their new intercity rail service, with new carriages, an augmented service experience as well as additional load capacity. Furthermore, as a company, GWR are committed to the local economies of the regions that they service.
The campaign was conceived by the London-based agency, Adam & Eve DDB, and claims that they selected the Famous Five as the quintet perfectly embodied the sense of adventure that the campaign needed to cover the region that GWR services and all that it has to offer. There are plans to spin-off the campaign to the GWR’s CSR program with the National Schools Partnerships as well; the company plan to use the Famous Five in its resources aimed at promoting literacy in primary school children all over Britain.
GWR feel that the campaign pushes all the right buttons with the travelling public it aims to target. By using a quintessential British icon, GWR has captured a spirit of nostalgia, adventure, uniqueness as well as a connection with destinations in its network. All of this, the company hopes, will help it make inroads with the public in a way no other rail company has done and give them more reason to re-explore this vibrant region of Britain once again.