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Train Travel Tales and Themes

Trains have played a prominent role throughout the history of railroad connections between towns, cities, and countries, that have spawned many tales of traveller adventures, romance, and intrigue, and still do as inspirational themes for novels, films, advertising campaign scenarios, and promotions for train travel tourism.

1. Switzerland Tourism, Grand Train Tour

Advertising Agency: Wirz BBDO, Zurich, Switzerland

Film Producer: Trevor Noha

Switzerland Tourism’s worldwide campaign commercial, to promote Swiss Rail’s ‘Grand Tour of Switzerland’, features Rodger Federer and Trevor Noah preparing for a film production.

Directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker Tom Hooper, the amusing scenario centres on the two stars finding themselves on the wrong train headed for Interlaken, without money and tickets.       

How they manage theIr predicament is superbly scripted and entertainingly enacted, with great wit, charm, and engaging broad smiles.

2. Camelot National Lottery, Just Imagine

Advertising Agency: adam&eveDDB, London, UK

Production Company: Smuggler, London, UK

Post Production and VFX Studio: Framestore, London, UK

The ‘Just Imagine’ film scenario for Camelot, Britain’s popular National Lottery, that raises over £30 million every week for good causes, was brought to emotive life by Oscar-winning director and filmmaker, Tom Cooper.

The chance encounter on a train, that develops into an intriguing and heartwarming Christmas love story, features a soundtrack of singer-songwriter George Michael’s R&B/Soul hit “Faith”, in a new arrangement performed by the ‘Sleeping At Last’ band’s, Ryan O’Neal.

3. Eurostar, A Travel State of Mind

Advertising Agency: Somesuch, London, UK

Production Company: Somesuch, London, UK

Post Production Studio: Framestore, London, UK

Directed by multi-award-winning filmmaker Kim Gehrig, Eurostar’s pan-European ‘Travel State of Mind’ campaign, about embracing new encounters and life experiences, was inspired by the visual style of early New Wave cinema genres.

The fast-paced commercial of narrative linked short scenes, with quick cuts, and witty copy, make for fun and engaging viewing.

4. Debenhams Department Store, You Shall

Advertising Agency: JWT, London, UK

Production Company: Believe Media, London, UK

Post Production and VFX Studios: The Mill, London, UK

Directed by filmmaker Hanna Maria Heidrich, the Cinderella inspired fairy tale, spearheaded an integrated, multi-media, festive season, Debenhams advertising campaign starring Stephanie Mae, Christopher Beckford, and actor and narrator Ewan McGregor.

Filmed in Budapest, the story of a chance encounter on a train between Ellie and her potential Prince Charming, results in them attempting to reunite.

They each launch their own social media searches, #FindMyShoe, and #FindThatGirl, and fortunately, the intervention of Ewan McGregor, ensures a proper fairytale ending.

5. AT&T, The Train

Advertising Agency: BBDO, New York, USA

Production Company: Furlined, New York, USA

Visual Effects Company: Method Studios, New York, USA

Stop-Motion Animation Studio: House Special, Portland, Oregon, USA

Music and Sound Design Studio: JSM Music, New York, USA

Filmmakers Dougal Wilson’s superb direction of AT&T’s ‘Wild West’ movie genre commercial, is impressively produced and cinematic.

Entertainingly combining live action drama and animation,’The Train’ has a surprising ending that very effectively communicates AT&T’s consumer proposition with appealing amusement.

6. Lacoste, Timeless

Advertising Agency: BETC, Paris, France

Production Company: Wanda, Paris, France

Post Production and VFX Studio: Mikros, Paris, France

Superbly directed by filmmaker Seb Edwards, the scenario about a love at first sight train encounter, is a multi award-winning ‘time-jump’ through 80 years of history during which Lacoste evolved from a sports brand to a fashion brand.

Filmed in Budapest, Kiev and the South of France, starring actors Damien Chapelle and  Dorcas Coppin, the cinematic commercial features a soundtrack of Max Richter’s resonant song “November”, in an impressively produced Lacoste short story of ‘what makes life beautiful’.

7. Heineken, Crack The Case

Advertising Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Production Company: MJZ, London, UK

To coincide with the launch of the 007 ‘Skyfall’ feature film, the commercial features appearances by James Bond actor Daniel Craig and Skyfall actress Berenice Marlohe.

The story centres on some villains pursuing a man on a train, who they mistake for Bond, but before they spot their correct target, 007 escapes with a ‘Skyfall’.

Filmed in Romania, the action packed scenario was skilfully directed by filmmaker Matthijs van Heijningen in typical Bond fashion, with the addition of some some amusing interludes that are highly rewarding to view.

The soundtrack song titled “A Man Like That”, is by New Zealand songstress Gin Wigmore.

8. CHANEL No 5, Night Train

Directed by filmmaker Jean Pierre Jeunet, this classic commercial with its stylish imagery, stars French actress Audrey Tautou.

The story about a romantic encounter on the famous Orient Express train from Paris to Istanbul, plays out against the haunting strains of Billie Holiday’s “I’m A Fool To Want You”.

Conceived in-house by Chanel, the commercial is a fitting homage to the brand’s long heritage of sophisticated French elegance, and CHANEL No 5’s legendary seductive influence on passionate affairs of the heart.