December 22nd, 2011

The record breaking 2011 Swinton Mystery Tipper

Swinton Mystery TipperThe Swinton Mystery Tipper campaign began in March 2008 with the objective of generating insurance leads for Swinton Taxi Division.  Not only did it smash this objective out of the park, but it also won several marketing awards including a DMA Gold in the Financial Services category.  So when we were tasked earlier this year with improving upon it we were a little apprehensive, but netherless we accepted the challenge withgusto and started to devise a bigger and better Mystery Tipper campaign….  but would the awards follow!?


A brief overview

For those of you who are not familiar.  The Mystery Tipper is a mysterious blonde decked out in a mac and trilby who travels across towns and cities in the UK, handing a £1,000 tip to a cabbie who has a ‘Mystery Tipper’ sticker in their cab. Cabbies get a sticker after requesting a taxi insurance quote from Swinton Taxi Division. Easy, effective and successful, The Mystery Tipper’s appeal is its simplicity. that and the lure of a big tip.

So how do you improve upon an already award-winning campaign that has smashed all previous targets I hear you cry? By introducing new ideas, online initiatives and extra incentives to keep those cabbies chatting on the ranks and ringing for quotes. Today in 2011, the Mystery Tipper Campaign has blossomed using online, email, mobile and social media.  She tweets, she updates, she tags winning taxi drivers in photos.  Far from resting on successful laurels, it was crucial to continue to push the Mystery Tipper and create new and exciting competitions to keep those calls coming. Keeping her fresh and front of mind is the task we continually set ourselves.


How to talk to a tough audience

We’re talking to taxi drivers. They work long hours, they get stuck in jams and they have a lot to be grumpy about. Getting insurance for their cab only adds to this stress. This is why our solution is a sassy cartoon character with a bright orange trilby (Swinton Taxi Division’s colour) and a fistful of cash to offload. She’s eye-catching, fun and offers an achievable £1,000 tip just for displaying her sticker.  Creatively, it’s all about creating a likeable character that cabbies can look out for. A female character was chosen because it seemed less sinister than a male gangster type. And we use an illustrative style inspired by the graphic novels of Marvel and DC Comics to bring her to life. On the website she ambles across the screen as a mysterious shadow, with film noir-style music playing in the background.  To keep improving this campaign we have to keep thinking, and we came up with an extra competition to give our customers another reason to get involved. Taxi drivers are ‘know-it-alls’ at heart, especially when it comes to the roads, and our fun ‘Guess the Miles’ Facebook competition gave them a challenge they just couldn’t resist. It was launched in time for the nation’s largest taxi event and appealed to their need to show off and our need to increase quote calls.


Impressive results year after year

The nature of the campaign, with its utilisation of both traditional and new media techniques, means that the initial success we observed during 2008, with each tip enjoying greater success and anticipation than the last, has continued all the way into 2011. Calls to Swinton Taxi Division have increased steadily per month in 2008, to a record high in January 2011 – an uplift of 250%. Contrary to expectation, the Mystery Tipper campaign has not adversely affected Quote to Call conversion or increased the number of ‘frivolous’ calls made simply to get a sticker. QTC Conversion is at an all time high, consistently achieving over 40%, compared with around 30% when the campaign started. The increasing impact and effectiveness of the Mystery Tipper continues to reduce Cost Per Quote, achieving historic lows in 2011.  A simple yet powerful concept, executed with acute attention to detail across every touchpoint, from exhibition to Facebook to twitter to the streets, it continues to create an uplift in calls and quotes that smash every target set.

So as you can see ‘The Mystery Tipper’ continues to generate calls and quotes in record numbers, but did she win an award?  You bet she did.  Last week we’re chuffed to announce that ‘The Mystery Tipper’ won a DMA Bronze for Best Business Performance or Improvement to Strategy ….  being narrowly beaten to Gold and Silver by The Salvation Army and WaterAid.  A fantastic result!!!



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