Case Study of the Month | April 2024 

GTR’s clever campaign is a brilliant example of the power of good marketing. It draws from research and is so well thought out. It clearly resonated with the audience. The results show it had a big impact on passenger behaviour. Great work!

— Ellie Wilson, Digital Production Manager, Econsultancy


In 2022–23, there were more than 400 reports of people risking their lives by stepping onto a train track to retrieve dropped items – up nearly 20% year on year. To tackle this problem, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) worked with the agency SHOOK to create and release a song on Spotify. The ‘Heads, Shoulders, Keys and Phones’ campaign reduced incidents of people getting onto the track by 40% and saw an 83% increase in people asking staff for help retrieving items.

Objectives and aims:

GTR figures showed an 18% increase in people risking their lives by getting onto train tracks to pick up things they had dropped, like hats, bags, keys, mobile phones and headphones. The campaign aimed to reduce this dangerous behaviour and remind passengers to keep hold of their belonging and ask for help from staff should an item need retrieving.

Implementation, execution and tactics:

SHOOK uses Stanford Behavior Design Lab’s Fogg model B=MAP, which is based on the concept that behaviours happen due to motivation, ability and prompt, to plan its creative campaigns. Understanding that passengers were already motivated and able to hold onto their possessions, the campaign focused on the ‘signal’ prompt by creating an engaging reminder.

Research also showed that people take more notice of safety messages voiced by children. This led the agency to have the idea of rewriting ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ nursery rhyme in line with the campaign’s key messages, so that its chorus became “Heads, Shoulders, Keys and Phones”.

‘Keep off the Track’, the song that resulted, was sung by children. It encouraged passengers to check that their belongings were secure when boarding or departing a train, reducing the likelihood of them falling on the tracks. The earworm nature of the tune was designed to memorable, staying with passengers long after they had heard it. It was accompanied by an ‘album cover’ poster featuring an outline of a body on tracks made up of the most commonly dropped items.

The song’s release on Spotify was supported by PR, social, influencer and in-station OOH activity.


In the six months following the campaign’s launch, incidents of passengers going onto the tracks reduced by 40%. There was also an 83% increase in people getting help from staff if they’d dropped something – helping them to retrieve items safely.