16th October 2013 Ravi Ruparel

Not just a Bus

“Excuse me, is the England football team staying here by any chance?” This was my question to the flat capped hotel porter at the swish hotel that I had just arrived at. It was on the day of England’s big match this week against Poland, a massive day for English football. “I am not allowed to say, Sir” he replied.

I was spending the day at the country golf club hotel to assist a management team with their company plans. Parked nearby to reception, and trying to hide behind some bushes was a big blue ‘luxury liner’ of a bus. It had the words “ENGLAND” emblazed on the side together with all the official FA and sponsor markings. Bit of give away huh? It was the England team bus.

I had a Clark Kent of a moment. I whipped out my Samsung S3 and snapped a photo. I had an idea. I opened up my laptop, fired up my Facebook like page that I manage for my football quiz app (footballbraingame.com) and posted the picture of Mr Blue Liner, the bus. I was curious, would the world connect and engage with the bus or was it just a bus?

I uploaded the picture and posted “The England bus this morning. ‘like’ it? show some support!” I loaded up £30 to boost my post to fans of the page, friends of fans and people in the UK. I had a feeling that this might pull at some heartstrings, get some likes and it did just that. My previous 5 posts had gone ok, I knew people liked photos and I had 1,000 fans but I was still surprised by what happened next. It confirmed to me three things:

1)    It was not just a bus.

2)    Emotional engagement is everything. As Luther Vandross said – a house is not a home when there is no one to hold you tight. A bus is not just a bus when the England football team travel in it.

3)    I really love performance marketing. I am not sure if the media value is efficient (I suspect it might be) but I really loved being able to control it. Turning it on and off and increasing the spend was a lot of fun.


Over the next 12 hours the post had an incredible 26,926 people views, 1,069 clicked to see the photo, it had 129 likes and 16 comments. Some of the comments were classic and I have to share them with you. My favourite was “I am from poland but i know they’re gonna loose cuz they have no coordination or good tactics so COME ON ENGLAND #England” and I was amused by “hey Look. a bus full of overpaid pricks.”

The blue liner is now on it’s way to Brazil. If you see it, give it thumbs up, like it to show some support. It’s not just a bus.


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