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Monday, February 20, 2012

Take the bus and leave the driving to us…

De Lijn in Mechelen” photo by Vitaly Volkov CC 2.5

“Art has to move you and design does not, unless it's a good design for a bus.” ~ David Hockney ~

After World War II, and the building of the Interstate Highway System, which ultimately opened up new traveling frontiers to automobile owners, a simple one-line advertising slogan, “Go Greyhound and leave the driving to us” helped restore the Greyhound Bus Line’s flagging market share. The slogan appeared everywhere – on billboards, in magazines, on the radio and even the emerging television market at that time. 

To this day, even though Greyhound (over the years) has experienced multiple strikes, mega mergers and financial woes leading to bankruptcies, the slogan remains as fresh now as when it was created. In fact, it’s still fully embraced by the company’s newest owners, FirstGroup plc of Aberdeen, Scotland, who have been continuously revamping Greyhound’s image since 2007.

Coming up with an ad campaign, which is effective and long lasting is not an easy feat. In this day and age reaching a complacent audience sometimes takes more than just a slogan.

Now comes De Lijn, the Flemish transport company that has been providing the citizens of Belgium with safe and reliable public transportation since its founding in 1991, and each year, over 500 million passengers commute on over 3600 buses and more than 350 De Lijn trams. (One would think that this is a healthy rider ship and not in need of additional fares, considering the population of the country is currently estimated  at 11 million.)
Well, as the old saying goes, sometimes you can never have too much of a good thing, particularly when attempting to wean the citizenry off of driving and encouraging the use of public transport. Think cleaner air and less traffic – you can’t argue with that, but how do you sell it? 

Enter a brilliant ad campaign, created by an equally brilliant Dutch animation house, Creative Conspiracy that captures a visual pitch about the benefits of "traveling in a group." (Not an easy sell, but if it's done with humor - all things are possible.)

Thanks to Coolvad’s YouTube Channel,  Duval Guillaume Modem, a multiple award-winning centric communications agency in Antwerp, and the Creative Conspiracy (whose name says it all) for sharing these three marvelous 30-second spots. 

IMHO, each commercial is an entertaining ad and is pure soft-sell genius. In fact, the De Lijn – “Ants” spot has recently been nominated for the Belgian 'VTM top spots awards' for the most popular TV commercials following the Belgian audience.

Enjoy, and feel free to share. These are sure to put a smile on your day!