Sunday Service Print Campaign

Target Audience: BFT services seven cities across three ports and two counties inside a 616 square mile PTBA. All are served by four newspaper publications, each with a reasonably high reader loyalty rate and each has a drastically different audience focus. One publication targets a more affluent demographic ("choice" riders), another publication targets business-minded, working-class citizens (both "choice" and "captive" riders). A third publication, aptly called the "Senior Times" targets an older, potentially retired audience, the last newspaper targets Hispanic readers. BFT aptly considered all audiences individually and intelligently applied varied use of headline, copy, and artwork to appeal to each subset. These four publications have a combined circulation of about 93,000 of the 300,000 population

Strategy Objective:Since this campaign was centered around the launch of Sunday Service enhancements, we aimed to appeal to our audience on a very fundamental, family-centered basis. Considering that Sunday might be the most family-focused day of the week for so many riders, we crafted a campaign that highlighted different activities (or travel locations) families would be interested in. Our efforts focused on four major Sunday related activities: work, worship, shop, play. We generated a variety of age-banded creative headlines, copy, and artwork specifically adapted to the target audience of each print publication. All creative assets were banded together through the over-arching theme "Let's Do Sundays Together".

Situation Challenge: BFT launched Sunday Service right in the middle of a pandemic-heavy environment. At the time, many students were being educated online at home while the majority of employers instituted work-from-home solutions. Considering the fact that students make up 30% of BFT ridership, with another 27% of riders utilizing BFT services to commute to work, this created a cumbersome atmosphere for launching any service expansion.  Additionally, state-mandated restrictions limiting social gatherings were also in effect (even for outdoor venues) further limited many recreational opportunities riders usually would normally pursue.  Regardless of COVID challenges, BFT was committed to the successful launch of this historically significant service enhancement.

Results Impact: The print publication campaign ran for three months and helped achieve the following results: Monthly website traffic increased nearly 50% from an average of 35,900 per month to 53,950 per month Sunday fixed route ridership debuted at 550 riders opening weekend and grew to nearly 1200 riders by the end of the campaign. Social Listening reports indicate an overwhelmingly 95% positive sentiment reaching an estimated audience of 2,461,040 equating to nearly $185,000 in publicity value.

Why Submit: Launching a historically significant and massive extension of service during a COVID-laden environment is extremely challenging. In addition to combatting the pre-conceived notion that public transit may not be safe during this time, our region was also under strong social-distancing protocols that limited school, work, and recreational travel. However, BFT faced the challenge head on and crafted a finely tuned educational campaign focused on delivering relatable, real-life messaging to our most reachable audiences. Each audience subset was delicately targeted to maximize ROI and achieve desired results. Our campaigns were analytically sound, imaginatively creative, and yet still down-to-earth, creating a lasting trust-based connected relationship with new and prospective Sunday riders.