December 11, 2019
Touché! and VIA Rail Canada redesign their media buying strategy
Train VIA Rail

The Canadian media scene may be reaching a turning point, but VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) and Touché! have demonstrated that investing in local media can still yield excellent results, all while supporting local newsrooms. With the Love the Way campaign, the media agency and the advertiser rethought their media buying strategy to adapt to the new realities of content creators and publishers.

As one of the most acclaimed advertisers both domestically and internationally in recent years, VIA Rail was seeking a new way to demonstrate its expertise in innovative and responsible strategies for the Canadian market. In collaboration with the Touché! strategy team, VIA Rail launched Love the Way in the summer of 2018 to increase its brand visibility and boost ticket sales. What set the campaign apart? 80% of advertising investments for the Ontario and Quebec markets were allocated to the digital platforms of local content creators and publishers. That’s a leap of 25 percentage points compared to a similar period and media budget in 2018. “This decision proved to be a winner, considering the increase of 6.5% in transactions, 6% in ridership and 5.5% in total revenue,” said Simon Parent, Senior Manager, Marketing and Optimization at VIA Rail.

“Due to the nature of our company, VIA Rail’s marketing activities dedicated to route popularity, brand visibility and ticket sales are conducted almost exclusively online,” added Mr. Parent. “Increasing our presence in the Canadian digital ecosystem is therefore a strategic choice that allows us to effectively reach our target audience and to more fully embody our position as a unifying Canadian leader in sustainable, enjoyable and safe mobility, all while supporting local media.”

This campaign is the fruit of Touché!’s efforts to privilege responsible media buying. The agency believes it is vital to support local publishers who are developing rich and relevant content for Canadians. This is why it works with its clients to re-examine their advertising policies and consider innovative solutions that will benefit everyone involved.

“Buying local and making responsible consumer choices became really important once we started to see local businesses suffering from the arrival of big box stores. The same line of thought now applies to media buys and advertising,” said Alain Desormiers, Founder of Touché! and CEO at Omnicom Media Group Quebec. “It is crucial that our industry—agencies, advertisers and publishers alike—rethink its approach in order to support Quebec and Canadian newsrooms and content. We’re proud of our collaboration with VIA Rail on this project that has clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of Canadian platforms.”

On the heels of the successes of 2018 and 2019, VIA Rail and Touché! have a similar strategy in the works for 2020.