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We helped smash all sales records

Barrhead Travel

what we did
  • Campaign concepts
  • Campaign development
  • Multi-channel assets
  • Copywriting
  • TV production
  • Radio production
  • Social media concepts

Barrhead Travel is a Glasgow institution founded in 1975. This multi-faceted business has grown from one small shop to become one of the UK’s biggest retail firms with over 80 branches and 700 employees. The brand has been driven by a strong sales strategy with the company being extremely tactical in the marketplace.

Boxing Day sales sound the starting gun for so many brands’ busiest time of the year, particularly for the travel industry. The post-Christmas comedown for many is the perfect time to start thinking about summer sun. Barrhead Travel – Scotland’s leading independent travel agent – are one of many travel brands fighting it out for a cut of this major sales period. Our task was to demonstrate why they should be the number one choice for holidays, regardless of destination or budget. This campaign had to ensure the return of existing customers, attract new ones, and drive footfall into stores across Scotland and the north of England. There was also the small matter of wanting to match 2019 peak sales, which happened to be their highest ever achieved. Like many of their most popular destinations, the temperature was rising.

Barrhead Travel, The Massive Holiday Sale OOH 6Sheet

Thinking big

With so many travel companies vying for attention during the peak season, there wasn’t the time or the space for nuance and subtlety. What was needed was a campaign that was eye-catching and, in a price-driven market, very tactical. In previous years, Barrhead Travel had a ‘big’ sale. So we asked ourselves, ‘what’s bigger than big?’ And that’s how the Massive Holiday Sale came about both literally and figuratively. To show the full scope of Barrhead Travel’s offering, ‘The Massive Holiday Sale’ could be changed to be more tactical with its messaging with ‘The £50pp Deposit Holiday Sale’ or ‘The Book Now or Miss Out sale’. It could even become softer and more emotive in its tone – ‘The swimming with turtles sale’ or ‘The sun on your skin sale’. This sliding scale of messaging meant the campaign could speak directly to customers who are more focused on price, as well as appeal to those who make more of an emotional choice about their holiday. Either way, this near-limitless messaging approach meant there was always something new to say which was vital for a campaign with such a long lifespan.

Barrhead Travel, The Massive Holiday Sale OOH 48sheet

Attention seekers

The biggest challenge of all was to make sure Barrhead Travel was seen, heard and remembered. The lion’s share of media would be focused around TV which still has an undeniably huge reach – especially at a time of year when people are lounging around enjoying Quality Street – but it meant we would be up against countless massive brands with budgets to match. And, of course, we’d be fighting for attention during the ad breaks, up against people busy on their phones. Not an easy task. So simple, effective, and distinctive were the three main creative components that we believed would translate not only on TV but across many different channels from radio to outdoor advertising, and even making the stores look impactful.

Barrhead Travel, The Massive Holiday Sale Social Post

Sounds like a plan

Price may be the key factor at this time of year, but people need to see warm, bright, colourful destinations, so they can imagine themselves enjoying a wide range of activities on holiday – mostly lying down, if we’re honest. Barrhead Travel’s visual fundamentals remained unchanged; chunky, bold type and their signature red are indispensable components. Within that, two distinctive lockups were created: for ‘Massive Holiday Sale’ and ‘Lock It In’, which both gave clear information to potential guests, and were easy to add to the in-house team’s campaign toolkit.

But on TV, we needed something more. A way to stand out and be remembered. So in addition to what the campaign said, or how it looked, we wanted to do something different with the sound design. To tempt eyes away from phones and all other distractions we combined the familiarity of classical music with the impact of contrasting loud and quiet. By using Bizet’s Carmen Suite No. 1 we built a sense of urgency, and then at several points throughout the ad, we killed it for the ambient sounds people love hearing on holiday, like waves gently lapping against the shore. This contrast not only grabbed people’s attention; it ensured our advert was seen – and, crucially, remembered.

Making history

We not only helped Barrhead Travel hit their 2019 sales target, we smashed it with a whopping 30% sales increase. It wasn’t only a record-breaking month for Barrhead Travel, but the best January sales performance in the history of the business (so far!). Enquiries were up 26% and the stores with their visual impact during the campaign also attracted a lot of footfall. In some respects, you could say we helped to take a travel company to a place they’d never been before.


sales increase


increase in enquiries


The Garment Factory
10 Montrose Street
Glasgow G1 1RE

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