The Age of the Train
The InterCity 125 train
|Agency||Allen, Brady & Marsh|
|Followed by||"We're getting there"|
"The Age of the Train" was a television advertising campaign in the United Kingdom created by British Rail in the late-1970s to promote its InterCity rail travel service. The adverts were presented by DJ and BBC presenter Jimmy Savile and featured the then-new InterCity 125 high-speed train.
Although a state-owned corporation at the time, British Rail was under pressure to operate on a more commercial basis. In attempt to revive its loss-making business, BR chairman Sir Peter Parker commissioned a series of commercials from Peter Marsh of the advertising agency Allen, Brady and Marsh (ABM). The agency reportedly won the pitch to BR by keeping their visiting executives waiting for a long time in a dirty room surrounded by overflowing ashtrays and coffee-stained furniture; after the executives' patience came to an end and they were about to leave in disgust, Marsh entered the room to greet them, explaining that their treatment had been a ruse to illustrate the customer experience of BR, and that his agency would be able put it right.
The reason Savile was selected to front the advertising campaign, was because at the time, he was perceived as being both a popular and family-friendly television personality. The slogan, "This is the Age of the Train", is credited to the advertising executive Rod Allen, also of ABM.
The advertisements continued to be produced until 1984, when they were replaced with a new campaign based on the slogan, "We're getting there". In 2012, during the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal, it was alleged by a former BR lawyer that the decision to drop Savile from the adverts had been made due to suspicions he was a necrophiliac.
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- "Obituary: Peter Marsh". Herald Scotland. 19 April 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
- manager, Tanya Jackson ; foreword by Chris Green, former British Rail (2013). "2. Some sort of an Organisation". British Railways The Nation's Railway. Stroud: The History Press. ISBN 9780752497426.
- "Rod Allen, Advertising 'jingle king'". the Independent. 13 September 2007. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
- Faull, Jennifer (26 November 2012). "The ad that was axed when British Rail heard rumours Savile was a necrophiliac". The Drum. Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
- on YouTube