Client: Colorado Dept. of Transportation (CDOT) (Denver)
PR Team: Public Relations Advertising Company (PRACO)(Denver)
Campaign: Transportation Expansion Project ("T-REX")
Time Frame: July 2000 - July 2001
The Colorado Department of Transportation knew it needed to fix Denver's
outdated and aging Southeast Corridor. There was a $1.7 billion
proposal on the books to fix the 19-mile traffic mess of Interstates 25
and 225. The proposal to widen highways and extend the regional
transportation district's light rail system would result in a temporary
roadwork nuisance, but the CDOT believed the project would result in a
long-term solution to traffic woes.
Enter PRACO and its T-REX solution to make Denver's traffic nightmares
Research showed that the public, whose approval of the project hinged on
their understanding it, didn't know the project's geographic parameters
or that the highway expansion included light rail development. People
also didn't know where to get details on the then-named Southeast
PRACO and the CDOT had to convince people to put up with temporary
traffic snarls and trust that the government would work to fix the
To get stakeholders - including the general public, businesses, and
Corridor residents - to support the project, PRACO convinced the CDOT to
brand the campaign. A brand that would last for the entire project would
unite the diverse audiences and, since it would be introduced by project
supporters, PRACO felt this would help focus on the end benefits of the
After sorting more than 300 ideas, PRACO and the CDOT coined "T-REX,"
the acronym nickname for the Transportation Expansion Project. The name
also gave PRACO and the CDOT the opportunity to create a personality for
the project to interest and entertain the public. The idea was to use
T-REX to represent the evolution of an old, outdated transportation
system into a modern, innovative, multi-modal transportation artery.
To ensure its approach would be unique and effective, PRACO submitted
the T-REX logo and trademark for registration to the US Patent and
Trademark Office. Since the logo would be used by multiple public and
private agencies to influence many audiences, PRACO produced the T-REX
brand identity and logo usage guidelines for client agencies, the
design-build contractor, and other groups.
Wary of backlash over the use of public funds to create a brand, PRACO
downplayed the public launch, but hyped the internal launch to motivate
workers. The first people to learn of the new brand and logo were
project employees, consultants, supporters, and sponsors, who all
received special brand kits and gifts.
To announce the brand and logo, PRACO arranged one-on-one meetings with
key media. To avoid accusations that the brand idea sidetracked the
T-REX project, PRACO sent the brand press kit mailing a few days before
a media event announcing the $1.67 million-winning T-REX
Local news, including all four major network news stations, the WB
affiliate, both Spanish-language networks, and a community access
channel all ran stories introducing the T-REX brand. In print, the story
was covered by the Denver Business Journal, Rocky Mountain News, Denver
Post, The Daily Journal, Boulder's Daily Camera and several others.
Trade publications also ran the story, including Colorado Construction
Magazine, and Engineering News-Record.
According to a joint poll published on July 17 by the Rocky Mountain
News and a local TV station, 94% of Denver metro residents had heard
about T-REX, and 79% supported it.
T-REX is slated to break ground in the fall.