Behind the scenes of the Heathrow Express Christmas Advert 2022

Press Release

World-renowned Polar explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes goes in search of Christmas on the Heathrow Festive Express. Want to know how to travel like Sir Ranulph, then read our guide. 

Christmas Advert 2022 - Heathrow Express - Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE

 

The celebrated video of Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE in which he announces he’s leaving the UK this year to head off in ‘search of the spirit of Christmas’ has been an industry acclaimed winner in the Christmas ad stakes. 

In response to massive demand, we’re sharing insights into how the film was made – and how you can also follow in his footsteps to northern Norway – to hop on board the Arctic Train from Narvik, as seen in the video. 

How was the video produced?

Heathrow Express’ PR team collaborated with London’s talented production company, Yada-Yada to pull together the concept with Sir Ranulph and his team of advisors. The most vivid memory which Sir Ranulph (or ‘Ran’ as he prefers to be called) speaks of being alone in the world’s most remote places, in extreme circumstances at Christmas time. Many of us can empathise, if away for work and apart from our loved ones.  We often forget that our bravest of explorers are no different. 

The main element of the storytelling was the letter which Sir Ranulph had to write to his family. He wrote a letter to them on beautiful headed notepaper, saying that he was sorry he’d not be joining them for turkey and trimmings as he was off to the North Pole.  The most heart-warming message is that wherever we find ourselves, we are most comforted by being surrounded by love and goodwill.

The video featured the famous ‘Arctic Train’ which weaves its way through a stunning snowy Nordic landscape as it leaves the city of Narvik and the stunning St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. And Paddington Station, of course, platforms 6 and 7. Our home.

How can I discover Norway and Narvik in Sir Ranulph’s footsteps?

Travelling to Norway could not be easier; hop on board the Heathrow Express from Paddington to Heathrow airport. Book any of six daily flights to Narvik Evenes (EVE) airport via Oslo (OSL). Express buses to Narvik correspond to most of the flight arrivals from Oslo. Norway was recently voted ‘the safest country in the world to visit’. It’s also the best place to see the northern lights, now the UK’s number one bucket list activity. The Arctic Train is an unforgettable, 43 kilometre journey through a dramatic landscape which has significant historical links to the UK and World War II. To book, Visit Narvik | Winter 

Where did the shoot take place?

The shoot was held at the stunning iconic St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, located 10 minutes away on public transport. It was specially chosen for its railway heritage and remarkable architecture - and because the hotel allowed our crew to film in the magnificent Chambers Club. The hospitality we encountered was second to none.

Sir Ranulph joined us for a pre-shot breakfast in the elegant Booking Office 1869 restaurant before holding us all spellbound with his astonishing tales of polar adventures, not to mention some really exciting travel documentaries and book releases. How does he fit it all in?

We filmed Sir Ranulph as he spoke about his upcoming adventures, not only travelling on our Festive Express, but also his future trips to far flung destinations beyond the Arctic Circle – a world which he’s very used to conquering. For example, we talked about the Arctic Train in Norway; a country which hold huge memories as many a fellow adventurer calls home.

The Hotel said: ''We are proud to partner with Heathrow, and specifically the Heathrow Express. The film stars Sir Ranulph Fiennes, 'the world's living greatest explorer', which aligns fully to the Renaissance values of exploration and discovery. We believe every trip is an opportunity to discover something wonderfully new, and the Heathrow Festive Express is just that!'' To book your event or stay, visit stpancraslondon.com

What does an adventurer carry, as luggage?

Heathrow Express are proud to partner with one of the world’s most sought-after British luggage brands, Globetrotter. Like Heathrow Express they are celebrating a big anniversary; us our 25th next year, and they their 125th.

We featured one of their Original Collection in the shoot, in a rich tobacco brown colour, very fitting for any budding adventurer to set off with, and like Ranulph, add to a collection of modern heirlooms. Even more interesting is that this suitcase was among the first to reach the South Pole and the top of Mount Everest.

If you’re a young ‘flashpacker’ and travel light, there’s also a range of more affordable carry ons and covetable accessories, for more information, visit Original Luggage & Suitcase Collection | Globe-Trotter

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HO, HO, HO, HEXMAS IS COMING 

Press Release

This is your invite to book early for the Heathrow Festive Express, launching Monday 5 December, just in time for the holiday getaway. 

Helping passengers get into the Christmas mood, Heathrow Express is transforming one of its carriages into an enchanting festive experience. The excitement builds as you’ll follow in the footsteps of the ‘world’s greatest explorer’ Sir Ranulph Fiennes, as he steps out on a Yuletide expedition to the North Pole aboard the Arctic Train in search of the spirit of Christmas. Where will your dream destination be this year? 

What’s more, between 5th - 7th December, those travelling in the Christmas carriage can enjoy a joyful journey, with special festive treats including a Golden Ticket giveaway with a daily chance to win a £250 Harrods shopping spree! 

 

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Follow our Christmas elves as they guide you along the platform to a special carriage where twinkling lights and the sound of sleigh bells ringing as you step onboard the Heathrow Festive Express. You’ll be handed special cards to write your letter to Santa direct to Santa’s workshop while workers make sure they get posted. 

As the train sets off, you’ll sit back, enchanted by racks adorned with vintage luggage, sacks full of presents, while fresh foliage adds that magical touch. 

All aboard the Heathrow Festive Express

Press Release

Heathrow Express

Helping passengers get into the Christmas spirit, Heathrow Express - the fastest route between central London and Heathrow Airport – is transforming one of its carriages into an enchanting scene, just in time for the festive season. 

Between 5th - 7th December, those lucky enough to be travelling in the Christmas carriage can experience a joyful journey. Christmas postal elves will guide people along the platform to the carriage, where twinkling lights and the sound of sleigh bells ringing await as they step onboard the Heathrow Festive Express.

Once seated, passengers can immerse themselves in a carriage cascading with colourful baubles, loaded with letters to Santa, packed with parcels and rammed to the rafters with festive fun. Plus, special treats including a Golden Ticket giveaway and a chance to win a shopping spree will be on offer, just in time for the holidays.

Those wishing to travel on the Heathrow Express over the holidays can book tickets in advance from as little as £5.50. It offers a stress-free experience that takes just 15 minutes to reach its destination, as well as spacious cabins, free Wi-Fi, and an Onboard Entertainment system. Plus, kids 15 years and under travel free*, making a trip to the North Pole (or any other destination) even better value for money.

See full press release


Heathrow Express Fares Update

01 January 2022: Heathrow Express has consistently received the top customer satisfaction ratings for the past decade, with its NRPS scores always being in the Top 2 across all Train Operating companies and the highest for any rail air service in Britain. With a new fleet, the highest luggage space for any mode of public transport at Heathrow, comfortable seating and space for travellers to relax in a tranquil environment, Heathrow Express will be making fares even simpler by having the same price for all flexible fares across both the digital and at station physical channels. This means the flexible Return fare will continue to remain frozen at £37 since 2017 whereas the flexible Single fare will now be £25 across all channels instead of costing £25 offline and £22 online. Great value fixed single fares will still remain unchanged and start at £5.50 when purchased in advance. Children will still continue to go for free when accompanied by an adult.

Heathrow Express upcycles waste left on trains to celebrate 20 years of sustainable travel

Tue 10 Sep 2019

Hand-crafted & upcycled sculptures tell 20-year story of all electric trains, waste reduction and female drivers.

Heathrow Express has marked the 20th anniversary of its 15 minute service from Heathrow Central to London Paddington with a 36-metre long poster campaign created using some of the tons of rubbish left on its trains every year, telling the company’s sustainability story over the past two decades. The posters run along the arrivals walkway at Terminal 2.

GivenLondonHeathrowExpressT2Walkwayfor web

Cups, plastic bottles and free newspapers found left behind on Heathrow Express’ trains have been upcycled into mini works of art by award-winning illustrator and paper sculptor Rebecca Sutherland and photographed for the posters. Hundreds of thousands of travellers using the famous airport express service will now see the company’s sustainability achievements such as how the number of female drivers exceeds the industry average(a), the fact that zero waste goes to landfill from Heathrow Express’ depot, that their fleet of trains are all-electric and that children travel for free.

One of the posters, highlighting the 500 hours of community work Heathrow Express has given, features a typically British plate of fish and chips crafted as a clever, up-cycled paper sculpture. Drink cans have been repurposed, cut and moulded to create salt and pepper pots and a folded knife and fork, with a ring-pull used for the fish eye. Another, illustrating how the train service has helped youngsters find jobs, comprises a collage of tiny silhouettes and figures cut from newspaper pages, showing people at work. 

GivenLondonHeathrowExpressT2Walkwayforweb2

The campaign, which has been devised by brand purpose consultancy Given London, reflects the growing importance of sustainable travel amongst consumers – a reality increasingly recognised by travel providers. Hotel booking platform Booking.com’s 2017 Sustainable Travel Report(b) found that 67 percent of travellers would be willing to spend more on travel options which were more sustainable(c) and TUI has found that its sustainability certified hotels result in better client experiences.

Chris Crauford, Head of Commercial at Heathrow Express said: “This is probably our most ambitious attempt to engage passengers in our sustainability credentials and bring our brand to life in a way that goes beyond the speed, reliability and customer service we’re known for. We’re proud of our position as a sustainable transport option with our diverse workforce, activities in the community and fully electric trains. This campaign has proved to be a striking and impactful way of celebrating 20 years of sustainable travel with Heathrow Express.”

Heathrow Express’ sustainability strategy supports the Heathrow 2.0 strategy for sustainable growth. Each of the themes in the posters feed into the four pillars of Heathrow’s wider sustainability ambitions - being a great place to work, a great place to live, a world worth travelling and a thriving, sustainable economy. In the latest National Passenger Survey, Heathrow Express received a 95 percent overall customer satisfaction rating(d).

Brand purpose consultancy Given London, who also work with Heathrow Airport in delivering their sustainability strategy, won the project following a pitch process. 

Matt Wright, Associate Creative Director at Given London, commented: “We were really impressed by the sustainability work the team at Heathrow Express had been doing, it was exciting to be able to focus on how we could bring what they have achieved alive in a bold and creative way.

“Heathrow Express’ waste credentials stood out particularly, so we asked the question: how can we use the waste that’s left over to help tell the story? The answer was to take the waste that’s left on the trains and upcycle it.

“The materials used for the paper sculptures allowed us to bring alive Heathrow Express’ dramatic reduction of waste from its operations but also provided an aesthetic which is real, tactile and tangible, a hand-crafted look and a personal feel which we felt would resonate strongly with consumers.”

The upcycled sculptures were created by illustrator and paper sculptor Rebecca Sutherland. Sutherland said: “My thinking was to create things that touched that sweet spot between being seen as refuse and a visually stunning image. It’s strange to say, but when I was clearing up from the project, I had around 15 cups left over. It seemed strange to throw them in the bin. They had been a resource all week. They had been as valuable as my pencil or my scissors.”

(a)One third of the drivers on the Heathrow Express route are female
(b)https://news.booking.com/bookingcoms-2017-sustainable-travel-report/
(c)Travel Weekly: http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/309313/tui-says-sustainability-certified-hotels-result-in-better-client-experience
(d)Spring 2018, latest National Passenger Survey: https://www.transportfocus.org.uk/research-publications/publications/national-rail-passenger-survey-nrps-spring-2018-main-report/