Patrick Baron

Creative Solutions

V/Line. Guilt Trip.


Every year, young country Victorians from across the state migrate to Melbourne to start new lives and rarely come back.

V/Line Australia’s biggest regional train operator, wanted to increase visitation rates from the city to the country.

The solution to the business problem wasn’t to advertise the trains, but rather create a new, highly functional product delivered through one of the most powerful emotional lenses. Guilt. 

The idea was simple, the Guilt Trip.

The Guilt Trip was a new VLine ticket which came with all the tools mums needed to guilt their kids into visiting them.

V/Line Guilt Trip was awarded the Cannes Lion Effectiveness Grand Prix.

The guilt trip master, ‘Backflip’.
The guilt trip master, ‘Pub’.
The guilt trip master, ‘Message’.

Microsite ticket booking platform.

Through a new ticket sales platform –, people were able send messages of guilt and pre-paid V/ Line train tickets to their city dwelling loved ones. 

The use of social media to enhance guilt.

The Guilt Trip platform was designed to allow users to very publically, guilt their family and friends to come home – through Facebook and Twitter. 

Outdoor and print.

These new to Melbourne Victorians would still have strong ties to the country, but the lure of the big city lights was pulling them the other way. We weren’t asking people to simply take a V/Line train trip, we we’re asking them to leave their new lives, their new friends and get on a V/Line train to travel hundreds of kilometres to see someone they otherwise weren’t planning on seeing.

To do this we needed to give people a reason to go back to the country. V/Line knew that they weren’t asking their target to make a rational decision and that the solution needed to be functional and emotional.

Traditional media and public relations were used to kick the campaign off, with the State’s Transport Minister launching the campaign.

The idea that it was now possible to purchase a Guilt Trip was novel enough to gain great traction in regional press and television networks.


During the campaign consideration of V/Line for VFF travel increased by an average of 28%.

During the campaign period online sales increase by 15%.