The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA)’s METRO Bus system was experiencing a lull in ridership due to its lack or refreshed marketing for several years. The bus system wanted to “reinvent METRO” with a compelling campaign to inform people how easy it is to ride METRO, how fun the bus system is, and, ultimately, increase ridership.
As METRO’s new advertising agency of record. AFFIRM developed and executed a huge ridership event on National Dump the Pump Day – June 16, 2016. The once-in-a-lifetime event on the once-in-a-lifetime date was branded #61616. Since METRO has strong lifetime ridership in adults ages 35-64, #61616 specifically targeted Millennials; those who are multimodal, technologically savvy, and most likely to adopt public transportation.
Before the event, people were encouraged to visit www.METRO61616.com to pledge to ride on #61616. After pledging, they received a text ticket redeemable for a FREE METRO Day Pass and were entered to win several raffle prizes. In addition, an online campaign ran with all ads clicking through to www.METRO61616.com and radio ads aired on popular Cincinnati radio stations promoting the event.
On the day of the event, four METRO bus stops featured live music from popular Cincinnati bands, free food, raffle prizes, and other freebies.
With a final pledge count of 1,641 and hundreds of people showing up at the four events, #61616 was extremely successful and far surpassed METRO’S previous ridership events. The online campaign delivered 2.8 million impressions and social media posts reach up to 1,038 each. The campaign was also a successful teaser for the reveal of Cincy EZRide, METRO’s new mobile ticketing app. Since #61616 was highly driven by social media and technology, it let riders know that a larger technological advance was underway; the #61616 was an excellent antecedent to the new mobile tickets riders can purchase through Cincy EZRide. Finally, the campaign was awarded an American Advertising Federation ADDY Award for Guerrilla Marketing Campaign in February 2017.