TfL “Do The Test” Digital Marketing Campaign

4 Min Read. |

Transport for London

About Transport for London (TfL)

(TfL) is a local government body responsible for the aspects of transport system in Greater London, England formerly named “London Transport” (LT). Its role is to implement the transport strategy and to manage services across London.

TfL is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the London’s public transport network, managing London’s main roads, planning and building new infrastructure.

Every day, 24 million journeys are made across TfL network.

TfL manage London’s buses, Tube network, Docklands Light Railway, Overground and Tram. TfL also run London River Services, Santander Cycles, Victoria Coach Station, the Emirates Air Line and London Transport Museum.

TfL reinvests its income to run and improve services, to upgrade stations and bring in new trains, tubes and buses to continually improve capacity and reliability. TfL makes the biggest investment to improve roads and streets for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.


In 2008 WCRS, part of the Engine Group, developed for TfL, the digital marketing campaign #Do The Test, designed to promote and increase road safety to cyclists & drivers. Its objective was to reach out to the target audience, who might either drive or cycle in the Greater London area.

Campaign Approach and Strategy adopted by WCRS of #Do The Test

Do the test

The campaign centered around an ad, which challenged viewers to count the number of passes made by one of the teams of basketball players. However after all the passes had been made, viewer was challenged to find out whether they had noticed something unrelated to basketball. It highlighted how easy it is to miss things when one’s attention is somewhere else.

The main aim of the campaign #Do The Test was to ensure that ad was seen online by as many in the target audience as possible, with a simple site constructed as URL of this was promoted at the end of the TV ad.

WCRS devised a two‐stage strategy, to seed the video:

  • Seed to blogs & forums for cycling enthusiasts.
  • Seed to more general interest blogs, forums & video‐sharing sites

The reason for this two‐stage strategy was, although the client was concerned to talk to drivers & cyclists, majority of people who drive or cycle in London does not participate in forums online. Digital therefore felt that by taking the message out a wider audience, it would connect back to the people it most concerned.

With this strategy in mind, the digital marketing agency set about implementing it in a number of ways:

  • Ensure that content was ‘sharable’; this was done by insisting that bookmarking ‘chicklets’ were incorporated into design of and the YouTube code was built into the design of the page, to make it easy as possible for people to copy video to own blogs & websites
  • Creating profiles on video‐sharing sites which were likely to provide the largest target audiences, from the experience with similar campaigns. These profiles were optimised, so that video has the best possible chance of being seen by large numbers of viewers
  • Analysis and research of blogs and forums for cycling enthusiasts
  • Building relationships with blogs & forums and explaining the purpose of campaign
  • Submission to popular social bookmarking sites and using the existing networks to promote video on these sites
  • After the campaign had been running for long and had met the expectations, hosting of video on was stopped and replaced with embedded YouTube player. Traffic directed to became counted as a view at YouTube, thereby kick‐starting the video’s popularity on the site again.

The strategy was a mixture of social media optimization (SMO) and social media marketing (SMM). This led to great success for #Do The Test.

Campaign Results

The results of the campaign were beyond expectations and that of Digital agency. Within 1 month of the campaign’s launch, the Awareness video had achieved 5.5 million views, against that of the targeted 150,000.

This success made achieved many milestones:

  • 4th most popular video in the world on Video Viral Chart for week ending 27th March
  • 2nd most blogged videos in the world, March 19th & 20th
  • 3.7 million views from video‐sharing sites
  • Most viewed video in YouTube category in the UK for March
  • 3rd top rated video in YouTube category in the UK of all time
  • Sent to 23,290 people using the ‘Send to a friend’ link on
  • 1.5 million views from social bookmarking & social news aggregator sites and Page 1 on Digg and Reddit
  • 32,359 clicks through the main “Transport for London” site
  • 5,092 views from specialist cycling blogs and forums
  • Emailed to specialist mailing list of 16,000 addresses

The advert, which ends with “It’s easy to miss something you’re not looking for. Look out for cyclists’, was awarded Gold Lion, Cannes Lions 2008 in category Public Health & Safety.

Key Learnings

  • Campaign was highly engaging.
  • I showed how YouTube video can be effectively used for marketing for a social cause – Road Safety
  • The campaign content was highly “Shareable”
  • The campaign was well targeted through blogs and forums for cycling enthusiasts
  • The campaign covered the various aspects of SMO and SMM
  • The campaign was an ideal example of using Digital Marketing in propagating a relevant message – Road Safety interestingly to a large audience


Title: “Awareness test”
Advertiser: Transport for London (TfL)
Product/Service: Cycle safety
Advertising Agency: WCRS, London

Online Marketing & Seeding: Altogether Digital Start Date:10th March 2008

Expenditure: £250k
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  1. jd sahu

    good article

    • Digital Vidya Editorial Team

      Thanks jd sahu


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