News & Views

A Tonic for Late Trains

by Contagious I/O

Gin brand courts frustrated commuters with discounts tied to train delays


Gordon’s Gin has created an algorithm that offers discounts to commuters when their trains are delayed.

The #YayDelay algorithm monitors the cumulative minutes of train delays at a particular station and also the number of complaints about the delays on Twitter (provided these incorporate the campaign hashtag). If both measures reach certain levels, Gordon’s issues discounts on gin and tonics.

The campaign, which was created by MullenLowe, London, was launched at Waterloo Station in London on Friday 2 February, between 5pm and 6pm. Commuters had to keep an eye on the website to see if a discount was unlocked and then to claim a voucher, which could be redeemed at the Slug & Lettuce pub, near Waterloo Station.

Gordon’s is now encouraging commuters to continue tweeting the #YayDelay hashtag and suggest more stations where the brand can take its campaign.

How it works


Urgent delay / Gordon’s #YayDelay campaign works according to the age-old marketing principle of scarcity – or urgency – by dangling a fleeting offer in front of consumers. Contagious wrote at length about how brands are incorporating urgency into digital campaigns here.

Digital media affords brands new means of creating urgency that go beyond the traditional limited-time offers and one-day sales. Social media allows marketers to create live, or real-time, events that engage consumers and create that sense of immediacy.

Smart Insights quizzed marketers about real-time activations. The digital marketing publisher reported that 76% of respondents to its survey claimed real-time marketing activity increased audience engagement, while 25% believed that it improved conversions and return-on-investment.

Already, Contagious has covered numerous examples of brands finding success by monitoring something in real-time and then issuing discounts accordingly. Snickers’ Hungerithm and Sodimac’s Vacations For Your Pocket are two examples of this mechanic.