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How we came together to deliver a highly-targeted campaign.

Strategy  /  content planning  /  media planning and buying  /  multi-channel creative  /  one-to-one marketing  /  PR  /  social  /  data and analytics



Thames Clippers provide a fast, reliable and comfortable river bus service that’s ideal for London commuters and tourists alike. But, despite an ever-growing roster of call points and the promise of a traffic-free journey, the brand seemed to be more associated with tourist trips than with commuting.

We were tasked with growing commuter numbers by presenting the brand as an attractive commuting option, as well as promoting the new Royal Wharf Pier – a key draw for potential customers from the newly redeveloped surrounding area in the Royal Docks.

The client fully invested in our integrated proposition, which would allow for a highly-targeted, multi-channel approach.


The brief required us to break the commuting habits of Londoners by challenging and changing their learned behaviour. At Sound we always start with insight and use that to inform a message for the brand that will cut through and drive engagement.

Sound partners had previously conducted social media research asking locals what they thought of their commute – and the findings were vital in forming the basis of our messaging. They allowed us to identify key pain points where Thames Clippers’ offering could pose a solution. We planned to build these into a compelling, relatable story.

And who better to tell that story than Thames Clippers commuters themselves? To be featured in creative, we sourced a diverse, representative group of customers with different priorities when it came to their commute – and extracted USPs from their testimonials that ranged from a cycle- and pet-friendly service with great views, to fresh air and an onboard bar.



The Sound planning team comprising creative, media planning and buying and communications then worked through the optimal delivery plan. Our creative concept featured real commuters and felt authentic and fun, with photography and video art-directed by our creative partners overlaid with short, approachable copy that created an emotional connection with audiences, while still touching on key product points.

We knew that reaching the target audience within their commuting routine would make our disruptive message all the more persuasive. Our OOH campaign was positioned at a number of commuter hubs close to Thames Clippers piers in both East and West London.

For a wider reach, digital ads were served to commuters in the same areas during peak travel times – delivering targeted content through Mobsta.

A social campaign featuring video interviews with commuters was also rolled out, building on the brand’s established #loveyourcommute thread. Advertorials appeared in local publications with a combined reach of 75k.

The message was further amplified through the distribution of #ITakeTheThames customised badges, to existing Thames Clippers customers and media.

When it came to targeting Royal Wharf specifically, the campaign featured a door-drop with a tailored offer available to residents of the new development, and a targeted mailer was delivered to prospective customers in the local postcode area.


Thanks to our integrated approach, our highly-targeted, disruptive campaign ‘That’s why I take the Thames’ was delivered consistently across a wide range of paid and earned media.

Our creative concept clearly resonated with the target audience. Targets were smashed for each zone during the campaign month, and we saw a massive increase in organic social media engagement on posts featuring our campaign.

The campaign also generated a significant amount of earned media, with three articles in the Evening Standard and a feature in their online edition.

18.8mEstimated reach of online earned media

600kTarget audience reached on their daily commute

+33.6%passengers boarding at St George Wharf Pier