Even if you don’t ride the train today, think about how important it will be for the next generation. That’s the message six-year old Mateo Burgos is hoping to get across to the public in the Rail Runner’s new marketing campaign that launched over Thanksgiving weekend.
According to Rio Metro Transit Director Terry Doyle, the goal of this campaign is to educate non-riders about the long-term benefits of a commuter rail system in our region. “Average commute times over the next 20-years will be almost twice as long as they are today,” says Doyle. “Even if a third lane is added someday on I-25, there aren’t any plans to expand roadways like St. Francis, Cerrillos or Old Pecos Trail in Santa Fe. So the Rail Runner allows continued economic development in the capital without having to accommodate more vehicle lanes and added parking.”
Rio Metro partnered with the Phoenix Agency for a casting call to recruit a dozen children to be part of the television, print and outdoor advertisements. The kids range in age from three to 10 years old and are dressed in outfits that reflect the profession they want to be as adults.
“From a police officer, to a firefighter, an airline pilot, a chef and business woman these kids really represent our current passengers well,” said Rio Metro Marketing Specialist Marie Morra. “We strongly feel that these kids can help bring our message home better than anyone else. After all, these children are our future riders.”
In the television ad, young Mateo is waiting for the Rail Runner at the Downtown Albuquerque station when his father leans over to him and says, “You know son, this train was built for you. When you grow up, you’ll want to take this train to work everyday because traffic is going to be much worse.” Then Mateo imagines himself as an Air Force pilot using the train to get to work in the future. When he boards the train he sees all of his friends dressed in the outfits that reflect their desired professions. While on the train, the kids have a conversation crediting their parents for having the foresight to support the Rail Runner back in the day.
While the main target audience for the campaign is adults who don’t currently ride the train, there is also a secondary target audience aimed at kids. “We hope these ads encourage children and families to think about the future and how public transportation might factor into their plans,” says Doyle. “Sure, it’s food for thought for what’s ahead, but that kind of thinking begins with giving the train a try today.”