Metrolinx gives some perspective

The transit crown corp is hoping people will look past the day-to-day construction to see the big picture.

With more than $6 billion in transit developments currently underway across Toronto and Hamilton, Metrolinx hopes a new social campaign will help commuters realize how it all leads to making their lives easier.

Each spot in the campaign is based around a different “transit personality.” In the first spot, launched mid January, “Ms. Snooze” is now able to avoid dozing off during her morning GO Transit commute, as more trains running on the Milton line means she can now sleep in. The second spot, which debuted yesterday, features “Mr. Predictable,” who can time his morning commute down to the minute thanks to dedicated Viva bus lanes in the York region that skip morning traffic.

“We’re trying to put more of a human face on what we’re doing,” says Jennifer van der Valk, director of brand, marketing and creative solutions at Metrolinx. “It’s great to post pictures of construction, but we want people to make that connection that this massive long-term plan we’re undertaking comes back to their own human experience.”

A third spot will debut closer to the spring, highlighting Smart Commute, a Metrolinx program that helps commuters utilize alternative travel options like carpooling, biking and walking to work or school. Bensimon Byrne, which has been working with Metrolinx for the last three years, developed the creative on the campaign. Zenithoptimedia handled the media buy, as it does for all departments of the Government of Ontario.

“The big challenge we’re facing is the fact that this is a massive transit development plan and our work cuts across a huge region,” says van der Valk. “That’s exciting, but it takes time and it can be frustrating for people, and we understand that. It’s hard to see the big picture when you’re facing construction that you have to deal with every day.”

The campaign will live exclusively on social media. Van der Valk says that besides being very cost effective, pursuing a social campaign is meant to drive the number of followers Metrolinx has so it can better communicate the goals, progress and benefits of the projects it is currently working on over a longer period.

Joseph Bonnici, CD at Bensimon Byrne, says past work for Metrolinx has been more explanatory, laying out everything the organization was working on and providing updates on its progress. With that groundwork, the agency was able to pivot and move onto more entertaining work.

“We want people to understand how it will change their life, and there was an education that had to happen before we could tie an emotional benefit to that,” he says. “Infrastructure isn’t the sexiest thing, but with a social media campaign, we can now move on to the emotional side of the benefit.”