MATBUS's "210 in 2010" Campaign

SURTC would like to recognize and share innovative marketing strategies and advertising ideas being used by small urban and rural transit agencies. One fun advertising campaign we would like to share is the “210 in 2010” campaign by MATBUS in Fargo, North Dakota.

The target audience for this ad campaign was the students at North Dakota State University (NDSU). MATBUS reached out to university administrators, student organizations, student government, university employees, dining services, alumni relations, and others and asked them to take part in the campaign. SURTC staff were honored to be included. The intent was to feature 210 people during the course of the 2010-2011 academic year who actually used MATBUS and would publicly state their support of it.

In addition to telling its story, MATBUS wanted to tell the story of its riders. The ads included each of the people's names, hometowns, major/department and year in college to further personalize them. The most effective piece of the ad was the yellow sign that each of the participants held (yellow is one of NDSU's official colors). On this sign, the participants were encouraged to write their own personal message as to the reason they used MATBUS. Each message was different and was completely chosen by that person to reflect their personal feelings and experiences. MATBUS wanted to show potential riders that people just like them, that they probably already knew, were MATBUS riders and that they should be too!

The ads were featured in the university newspaper, the MATBUS website, NDSU’s website, in each of the bus shelters on campus, and on Facebook and Flickr. Ads have even been seen hung all over campus by friends of those featured. Results from the campaign have been very positive. Student awareness of the service and ridership are up, and survey results show the ad campaign improved public perception of services. It also created positive relationships between MATBUS and NDSU.

The ads can be seen on MATBUS's Flickr page, and more information can be found on the U-Pass page on their website:

This ad campaign has been entered in the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) AdWheel competition. The AdWheel Awards are presented by APTA each year to honor the marketing and communication efforts of transit agencies.

If you have any advertising ideas you would like to share, email them to jeremy.w.mattson@ndsu.edu and we can post them on our blog.

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SURTC is a part of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University