Communicating the requirement for customers to buy a ticket before they board a train has always been a challenging message for the rail industry.

However, in autumn last year Northern decided to take decisive action and really push the message to help its customers understand not just the consequences of not buying a ticket, but also the benefits.

Last week the creative campaign, game and promotional activity for Buy Before You Board was recognised at a national level at The Drum’s Marketing on Mobile Awards in London.

The Buy Before You Board campaign was centred on a game developed especially for Northern; Queue Jumper and the associated promotional and social media activity ran from September 2016 through to January 2017 and focused on promoting the benefits of buying a ticket before boarding a train, with a particular emphasis on buying digitally.

Players of the game were encouraged to share the game, their scores and their conversation about it using the hashtag #queuejumper, and they did - in their thousands. The hashtag was shared, liked and tweeted more than 19,000 times during the campaign and really created an online buzz around the key benefits of buying as early as possible.

Since the campaign, Northern has seen a rise in app and mobile ticket purchasing and a reduction a ticketless travel fines.

The Drum’s award judges said: “The work achieved a strong business performance against the campaign objectives on a modest budget. A clever campaign that is a worthy winner and a unanimous choice from the judges.

Jason Wade, Northern’s Head of Loss Prevention, said: “This was never going to be an easy message to communicate and we knew we would have to do something very different to reach the hearts and minds of our customers and change their buying behaviour.

"The results for the business speak for themselves and to receive this award shows that communicators from both inside and outside the rail industry appreciate what this creative and innovative campaign achieved.”