A digital billboard touting Metra as the Chicago area’s “Real Expressway” has been honored with a local Silver Addy award from the American Advertising Federation.
The billboard, created by Staples Marketing and Metra’s marketing team as part of the “Metra Makes Life Easier” campaign last spring, won the award in the category of “Out-of-Home, Outdoor Board, Flat.” The American Advertising Federation’s Madison, Wis., chapter announced the award last weekend.
The campaign stressed all the advantages of riding Metra – particularly that it offers convenient, on-time service from most anywhere in the Chicago area. It also placed additional emphasis on the volatility of gas prices and the amount of time and money Chicagoans waste annually sitting in traffic jams.
“We are very pleased that our efforts to bring new riders to our trains have been recognized by industry professionals,” said Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno. “Our promotional programs were an important part of developing good relationships with customers in 2013, and that will continue this year.”
Campaigns were designed to appeal to target market segments, often relating to specific events and seasonal activities. Those included the “Metra Makes Life Easier” campaign, which offered a “test drive” sweepstakes that gave winners free tickets to experience Metra; a summer “Traincation” promotion for leisure trips; a fall “Back to School, Back to Work, Back to Metra” campaign; and a holiday “Family Fares” promotion.
The campaigns were among the factors that helped Metra grow ridership in 2013. Metra provided 82.3 million passenger trips last year to commuters in the six-county region, a 1.2 percent increase over 2012 and the fifth-highest total in the agency’s history.
Since dipping to 56.5 million passenger trips in 1983, when Metra was formed, the number of commuter rail riders in the region has jumped 46 percent, averaging 1.5 percent growth per year. Metra posted ridership gains on eight of its 11 lines in 2013.