Despite VIA Rail's high profile, rail is not often considered when planning trips in the Windsor-Quebec City corridor. The main mode of transport remains the car. However, motorists tend to idealize the length of a journey, they don't anticipate the reality of road conditions, and it's only when they're stuck in traffic that they realize their mistake. With this in mind, VIA Rail wanted to seize the opportunity to increase its market share by demonstrating that travelling by train saves a lot of frustration.
That's why, in order to influence travelers, VIA Rail wanted to expose motorists to the harsh reality they were about to face, at three crucial stages of the planning cycle: before, during and after the trip. To leverage the impact and relevance of the messages, we developed a strategy where execution was tied to road conditions via a single source of data, in real time and activated simultaneously across multiple channels.
To get the ball rolling, it was necessary to find the right technology and media partners. After several unsuccessful attempts, Bell Media stood out for its innovative approach, programming resources and openness to working in synergy with other partners such as Météo Média and Google to implement this colossal campaign.
Indeed, once access to the data streams was in place, each of the partners worked with us to exploit them in their respective media. By unifying the data source, we were able to automate the execution process, ensuring simultaneous execution across the various touchpoints and stages of the campaign.
In order to intercept users in the process of planning a trip, we targeted users looking for the weather at a Corridor destination outside the city where they were located. They were presented with a dynamic message detailing current traffic conditions between their location and the city consulted.
Within our SEM ads, we also integrated this data to dynamically adapt our messages. For example, if a user searched for Voyage Toronto from Montreal, we informed them of the current road conditions between the two cities. What's more, if the time on the road was 20% longer than the average train travel time between the two cities, the ad would automatically update to include the time saved by taking the train.
To reach motorists moving through the Corridor, we opted for digital signage. In addition to identifying all the digital signage options in the Corridor, each location was carefully selected according to traffic intensity and rail zones.
To capitalize on motorists' receptiveness to our messages, we presented actual traffic conditions according to the location of each panel. As with SEM, when car time was more than 20% longer than train time, the message was adapted to emphasize the estimated time to destination.
Finally, using the data stream, a new technology was developed with Cieslok, a Bell Media subsidiary. We collected all the cellular identifiers of motorists who had been stuck in a traffic jam along the corridor's roads, as well as those who had been exposed to the display.
We then retargeted these users as soon as they arrived at their destination, with a personalized message reminding them of the frustration of being stuck in traffic, as well as the benefits of taking the train.
The strength of this campaign lies in Touché!'s global vision of the media ecosystem, their understanding of the mindset of motorists when organizing their long-distance trips, and the development of highly innovative media solutions. As a result, surgical interventions with a highly qualified audience of motorists were made possible.
Thanks to data analysis and logical media orchestration, the benefits of the train were amplified at key moments, leaving a strong emotional imprint that increases the rate of consideration of the train on motorists' next journeys. And all in a pleasant working atmosphere!
Simon Y. Parent Senior Director, Marketing and Optimization