The old saying, “timing is everything” isn’t completely true. About 18 months ago I had a meeting with Richard Branson’s Virgin Trains to pitch an exciting idea. They said the idea needed more. Well, recently Trainline executed (very well) almost the exact idea that I pitched to Virgin. Was my timing off or were Virgin Train’s just crazy?
As a professional magician I travel a lot. Sometimes by car, sometimes by plane, boat and sometimes by train. Travel on public transport as a magician is a fairly unique experience. I’m often practicing with a deck of cards, coins or something that looks out of place to the general public and as such I’ve met some really interesting people whom I otherwise wouldn’t of if I had just sat there listening to music or reading a book.
I’m sure that you will agree with me here when I say that the majority of train journeys are monotonous, uncomfortable and not as enjoyable as the arriving or leaving part of a journey. Not the case when you’re sat next to Scott Perry! Over the years people have said that unexpectedly being sat next to a magician has been one of the most exciting train journeys that they will never forget. People like Ellie, who was travelling with her mum from Great Ormond Street. After Ellie’s mum sparked conversation with me on the train to Lincolnshire I showed the lovely little Ellie some magic. We had a picture together and weeks later Ellie’s mum sent a message on the Scott Perry Magic Facebook page saying that Ellie didn’t stop talking about her chance encounter with a magician and used the picture of us at her school show and tell.
Based on these real life experiences I developed a marketing campaign for Virgin Trains about the magic of travel and that every journey is filled with wonder. I set off to King’s Cross in London to pitch the idea to heads at Virgin Trains East Coast only to be told that they like the idea but that it’s lacking a certain je ne sais quoi. I was amazed. Years of real world experience told me they were wrong. I don’t know if they couldn’t see my vision, I’m not famous enough or the idea didn’t fit with Virgin’s plans at the time but here we are 18 months later and Trainline release almost exactly the same idea, minus a few of my better ideas.
Leave a comment on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn to say if you think Virgin missed out? Or were they right not to use my idea?