Grant Shapps advert for the Great British Rail Sale has to be seen to be believed

Grant Shapps advert for the Great British Rail Sale has to be seen to be believed
Grant Shapps releases bizarre promotional video for 'Great British Rail Sale'
Department for Transport/YouTube

We had to see a clip of Grant Shapps talking about discounted rail tickets while sporting sunglasses and standing in front of a green screen, so you have to, too.

In footage which looks like a rejected task from the latest series of The Apprentice (a brand which we've decided to call Shapps-stick) the transport secretary appears in a variety of holiday locations promoting the Department for Transport’s (DfT) new Great British Rail Sale.

Accompanied by cringy elevator music, Mr Shapps says: “I want to tell you about a great offer coming to you. It’s the Great British Rail Sale, offering over 1 million advance tickets to passengers, with up to a massive 50 per cent off.

“Why not take a trip to Edinburgh, to take in the sweeping views from Arthur’s Seat?

“Or, if it’s sea or sand that you want, well, head to Cornwall, with its stretches of beautiful sand and crashing waves.

“Or visit the Lake District, the land of dancing daffodils and fall of love from Wordsworth’s paradise.

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“Or come down to London for a bit of retail therapy,” he says, holding up several bags of shopping against the backdrop of a busy London high street.

The Great British Rail Salewww.youtube.com

Dressed up in a bland brown t-shirt, we can’t help but feel like Mr Shapps looks like the guy to sell fridges rather than go to Selfridges.

After ditching the malfunctioning green screen, the minister is seen standing in front of an LNER train, in which he says it’s “time to get real” after two years of “living life virtually”.

“[It’s time to] visit our beautiful country,” he adds, before hopping on board the service.

According to the DfT, new tickets on sale today see journeys from London to Edinburgh and Cardiff both cut by £22.

A trip from Birmingham New Street to Bristol Temple Meads, meanwhile, will now only set you back £12.60 instead of £25.30 – the department claims.

A press release reads: “Cutting the cost of rail travel will help ease some of the pressure on family finances at a time when inflation is rising around the world.

“It will also encourage people to visit different places, connect with friends and loved ones, and get out and about around the country.”

Social media users, however, were taken aback by the unusual marketing:

Meanwhile, Labour’s shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh described it as a “small comfort” for passengers hit by “soaring fares”.

Frances O’Grady and Mick Lynch, general secretaries of the TUC and RMT unions respectively, both branded it as a “gimmick” in their statements on the announcement.

With a promotional video like the one mentioned above, we can see where they’re coming from…

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