Consumer PR Agency: Arriva Case Study

Consumer PR Agency: Objectives

Buses play a hugely significant role in combating social isolation and loneliness amongst the elderly. The local bus is a lifeline to many older people that rely on services to get them around and stay connected to family and friends.

But loneliness is still a growing issue for older generation that can have a serious impact on health and wellbeing.

Smoking Gun worked with Arriva on a campaign to help highlight this issue that older people face and get people more connected.

We teamed up with Age UK to create the Talking Bus – a special bus service that that offered passengers a chance to get out and about with their concessionary bus pass, meet other older people, form new friendships and have a great day out in the process.

The campaign was so successful that we launched a second phase to reignite media interest a few months down the line.

Talking Bus 2 took inspiration from the hit TV show ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’ . We invited children from local primary schools along to the Talking Bus 2, with the aim of the children and older people connecting. The children spread their love and excitement of bus travel, and the elderly shared stories about what the local area used to be like and the changes they’d seen over the years.

Consumer PR Agency: Strategy & Plan

Smoking Gun worked with Arriva, Age UK and the West Kent Befriending service  to identify local groups of older people and primary schools and arranged convenient pick-up points and fun destinations that would appeal to both age groups such as; a Cat Cafe, the Hop Farm in Kent and Southend Pier in Essex.

Local print media were invited along to join the bus trip and interview those taking part.Regional media was the focus – this is the most trusted media outlet for most older people 

Our team:

*Created a comprehensive broadcast opp alert, press release and media sell in targeting local media organisations detailing the Arriva and Age Concern partnership event

*Reached out to print and online news outlets and broadcasters across Kent and Essex, inviting them to spread the word about this initiative

Used local photographers to capture the event and bring the day trip to life

Engaged local mayors to join the event to encourage more media interest

Briefed Arriva’s regional managing director to be a spokespeople for broadcast media such as live radio


Creating an exceptional consumer PR agency case study, we delivered:

*Blanket coverage across print and online titles in the region, including Times of Tonbridge, Times of Tunbridge Wells, Kent Online and Kent Messenger, and the Southend Echo

*Broadcast spot on local TV service KMTV, BBC Radio Kent, and BBC Radio Essex

*Live tweets targeting both potential service users, friends, family and carers by KMTV reporter on the day, detailing the experience and responses from the public