Valley Metro hits the right note to encourage use of public transit

The Valley Metro Regional Public Transit Authority recognized that some Phoenix residents are confused about its services.

Client: Valley Metro Regional Public Transit Authority (Phoenix)
PR agency: R&R Partners (Scottsdale, AZ)
Campaign: Valley Metro Notes
Duration: November 2010-November 2013
Budget: $132,030 (to date)

The Valley Metro Regional Public Transit Authority recognized that some Phoenix-area residents are confused about using its services.

Strategy
The organization tasked R&R Partners, its eight-year AOR, with encouraging locals to make the switch from cars to buses.

"We're targeting what we call 'choice riders,'" explains Matt Silverman, MD of R&R's Scottsdale, AZ, office. "The people who have a dependence already know how to ride."

Tactics
R&R contacted area bars and music journalists to learn which local bands had the most buzz. The firm asked five bands to write educational songs covering different aspects of public transit and arranged their studio time. Once each song was recorded, animated videos were produced under Valley Metro creative director Kyle Curtis.

A video premiered each month during 2011 on Valley Metro's website and social media platforms, as well as in movie theaters and on radio and TV. Local businesses, schools, libraries, and community outreach services were able to use them for free.

The bands played their songs at transit stops and during shows and promoted the project through their own channels. R&R created posters and cards with QR codes to hand out at events, all of which linked consumers to the Valley Metro site to see the videos and learn more.

Results
A 2011 survey found 46% of riders used public transit more than a year ago, while 83% would likely recommend Valley Metro to others, up from 78% in 2010. From November 2010 to 2011, unique visitors to ValleyMetro.org increased 30.1% to 2,578,303, while Facebook page traffic rose 700%. The campaign is also a finalist for a 2012 Effie award in the transportation category.

Future
The three-year campaign will continue to release songs throughout 2013.

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