In pitching cost-saving railcards to young people, families and the more senior among us, National Rail has moved from a positioning of pure cost savings to equating those savings with the warmer, cuddlier things in life. It seems that they’re seeking not only to address anxieties about the cost of rail travel (which is on the increase) but also those tied to the fact that we don’t connect face-to-face as much anymore. A headline of “1/3 off hugs with mum” is paired with the line “because a text won’t get your washing done”; “1/3 off hugs with grandad” adds the line “because it’s hard to play hide and seek on a webcam.”
We’ve seen a similar idea from Nescafé in Australia, where a “Get a little closer” campaign urges consumers to “turn off the gadgets, turn on the kettle and enjoy a cup of coffee together.” These campaigns tap into the trend of Savoring Simple Pleasures as well as the growing urge to unplug in an increasingly digital world. Quality face time certainly feels like something the modern world needs. A virtual hug via Facebook really isn’t the same, is it?