It's So Easy Campaign

Target Audience: The targeted audience for the It's So Easy campaign included former VIA riders who stopped using transit due to coronavirus concerns, potential riders who could be attracted to transit through system and service upgrades and safety protocols, as well as stakeholders and the general public.

Strategy Objective:"It's So Easy" relied on the nostalgia of the wildly popular VIA-VIA/It's So Easy 1980s TV ads. Research showed a strong affinity for and recall of those decades-old ads. The 2021 remake pulls from the past but sends the audience into a hope-filled future. Designed to tug on heartstrings and rekindle memories of the original jingle, updated with new lyrics and a blast of optimism, "It's So Easy" uses bright color and movement to bring the city to life as lockdown conditions eased and people began to explore their community again. The campaign included two bilingual versions, along with OOH, print and digital ads. Additional altered radio cuts allowed the ad to be used to promote other initiatives, such as the VIA goMobile+ app and VIA goCard for faster, touchless fare payment options.

Situation Challenge: The global pandemic. Almost overnight, businesses and offices closed, schools went virtual, and people retreated from public spaces, including transit, only making essential trips and travel when necessary. When it was clear San Antonio had begun to emerge from an unprecedented lockdown, VIA mobilized to tell a new story, one that would help former riders return and show potential customers how easy it is to use public transportation. As an essential-services provider during the pandemic with a strong focus on service continuity and public health, VIA also knew that it wanted to share a sense of optimism and a message of hope with a pandemic-weary public. The "It's So Easy" campaign addresses these challenges with a throwback to classic VIA campaigns and a look forward to better days.

Results Impact: The "It's So Easy" campaign was introduced in summer 2021 to an auditorium full of civic leaders during the annual State of Transit event at Tobin Auditorium. The audience was energized as the 30-second spot did what it was designed to do: make people excited about riding VIA. Audience members instantly recalled the jingle, and sang along. The campaign was subsequently deployed across channels in San Antonio and drove public engagement and additional awareness of VIA products and services. The campaign drove more than 4.7 million impressions on Facebook and YouTube. Estimated out-of-home impressions exceeded 50.5 million. Impressions on radio, TV and cable are estimated to be nearly 13.4 million. During the campaign, ridership showed a consistent over 10% increase compared to prior year.

Why Submit: The original "It's So Easy" campaign (featuring the then-Mayor and would-be U.S. Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros and U.K. actor John Cleese) is beloved by San Antonians. VIA updated the concept and deployed the campaign as the key to its ridership recovery goals. More than a year into the pandemic, when life as we knew it in San Antonio and the world was filled with uncertainty, VIA offered a tether to simpler times, a nostalgic blast from the past firmly rooted in the present and pushing people toward a brighter future. While the campaign was designed to build awareness of transit in a very car-centric community, it did far more than that. "It's So Easy" rekindled a shared memory of light-hearted optimism, a reminder that the future is bright and "it's so easy, when you take the bus."