Eurostar advertising

I’m a big fan of Eurostar, the highspeed rail service between London and Paris / Brussels. It’s efficient, reliable, and so much better than flying. Further, thanks to the recent security problems at UK airports, the company is doing excellent business. But what about their advertising?

However my journey to Brussels this weekend as led me to wonder what Eurostar is trying to do with its advertising campaigns. Across Belgium there are a series of very strange advertising campaigns similar to the top-left image here – entitled “London Blind Rally – 16 January” encouraging people to go to London before it happens. Is this supposed to be funny? Are they having a joke at blind people’s expense? Or are they (in Belgium!) saying that London taxi drivers drive badly? I’m confused and quite possibly offended.

This approach in Belgium is very much against the line taken in the UK where Eurostar’s advertising is smart and smooth – like the lower image here – with the slogan “You carry your journey with you”. Are they just trying to appeal to a different type of traveler departing from the UK?

I’ve also included the most famous ad made by Eurostar (top-right image) – from 2005 in France, making fun of the Spice Girls. No comment!

[UPDATE 11.12.07]
Eurostar urinating advertEurostar have surpassed all of that in Belgium now with an advert that shows a skinhead urinating in a glass. Now that might be the sort of thing some British people tend to do, but is it the way an up-market rail service should do its marketing? Anyway, as a rail service Eurostar is fab in my opinion and a dodgy advert like this is not going to change that for me.


  1. Not terribly offended by the advertising – surreal Belgian humour perhaps? Or may be there’s actually a price rise coming on 17 Jan?

    I’m more offended by the potential downgrading of Ashford International station when the London terminus moves to St Pancras. Have you heard about this?

    There’s been investment in Ashford from other parts of the EU because of its decent transport links to the continental mainland (near the ports, on the international train line).
    But apparently there is a plan under discussion for only a few Eurostar services to stop there, and all of those Paris-bound.

    The southeast of England is not all within easy reach of London and it can take a long time to get from parts of it to London airports, London Eurostar stations etc. The Ashford Eurostar stop is key in helping the southeast not get lost under London’s presence (of course other things like upgrading the southern coast road would help that too).

    Environmentally, Brussels is the more obvious link to the rest of the continent if we’re all being encouraged to fly less. Even an Ashford-Lille link would help this, getting customers access to the Thalys network.

    So really don’t mind the advertising, just the apparent direction of business planning!

  2. Yes, I am well aware of that… Indeed I have just been working on a website for Peter Skinner who cares very much about the Ashford issue – see his Press Release on the issue.

  3. Ashford train services to Brussels and Paris were reinstated in 2009.

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