I happened upon this ad for Minnesota's SouthWest Transit, just as the law in Ontario against handheld cellphone use kicks in. The timing is perfect and the advantage that transit offers the multitasking addict is driven home in busloads.

image via metro-magazine.com
Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2009

From time to time Pushing Buses happens on a link or nugget of information or page that just happens to help us all push buses - or trains or LRT. This simple interactive page from the outstanding online mag GOOD, shows us the difference of between the impersonal car-centric streets of the past and the vibrant people-focused streets of the future. Every transit planning site should be able to illustrate the benefits of transit as effectively. This one really rocks my boat. Click here to get the full experience.

Image via visualizeus
Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2009

In a campaign that builds off its first spot, posted earlier on Pushing buses here De Lijn continues to promote buses in Brussels as vehicles of social good.

It's turning out to be a light (no pun intended), likeable campaign which does more to increase ridership than most transit advertising I've seen in a long, long time.

Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2009

Barrett and Welsh, submitted 5 entries in this year's Summit Creative Awards, an international award show that recognizes the creative work of small/independent agencies.

All five entries won.

Four of them (2 gold, 2 silver) were for York Region Transit's summer "dump the pump" campaign featured in an earlier posting on Pushing Buses - the winning entries are shown here again.

It's only possible to do good work when you have good clients and good suppliers.
To both, thank you.

C'mon folks. Admit you've been here. You've got the t-shirt.
Now ask yourself, on which side of the table were you?

Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2009

"Sweet ride promised in $1.22B streetcars" says the Toronto Star.
"Bombardier wins massive Toronto streetcar contract" says the Globe and Mail.

Yes indeed, this is good news - good news for transit, for manufacturing in Ontario (the new cars will be made in Thunder Bay) and for Toronto.

Can transit be sexy? When it looks like this, it can be. (The livery shown in Bombardier's handout could use some design though).

The new streetcars are great example of what the "product" on the street needs to be, in order to steal the glamour that cars have always had in North America and to convert drivers to riders.

Bombardier's The Streetcar Redefined website does a pretty good job of showing off the Flexity streetcar in use around the world - but I think it could do a better job of showing the world exactly how sexy public transit can be.

Images made available for download by Bombardier.
Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2009
Brands began as marks burned onto rumps of rawhide.
Many brands are still that today, and, often enough, even less than that:
just marks minus the life they were imprinted on.

The most successful brands step beyond the boundaries imposed by design.

Even in intellectual property law a brand is no longer just mark or a unit of design.

In fact, a brand is as much about a logo or mark, as a marriage is about a wedding.

Logos and weddings represent nothing more than beginnings.
Whereas brands and marriages represent the continuum. They represent relationship.

Today's brand, is exactly that: a relationship.
And all good relationships are built on communication.

The moment a brand leaves the chapel of design and crosses the threshold into communication,
it stops looking in the mirror and saying, "I, brand."

It instead begins looking at you, the consumer and says "Us, brand."

copyright 2006 Gavin Barrett All rights reserved

This is a good example of bad advertising that I recently stumbled on. (Tripped over?) What was OC Transpo thinking? A bad visual pun, a poorly executed ad. Tacky. Whoops - did I just say exactly what I felt? My wife would be so proud of me.

All works shown on this blog are the copyright of their respective copyright owners.
Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2009

As a long-time poet and poetry promoter, I thought I'd use the excuse of April to nod at the odd appearance of buses and trains in verse. This excerpt of Philip Larkin's spectacular The Whitsun Weddings begins on board a train. Click on the title to go to read the entire poem at www.poetryfoundation.org.

The Whitsun Weddings


That Whitsun, I was late getting away:
   Not till about
One-twenty on the sunlit Saturday
Did my three-quarters-empty train pull out,
All windows down, all cushions hot, all sense
Of being in a hurry gone. We ran
Behind the backs of houses, crossed a street
Of blinding windscreens, smelt the fish-dock; thence
The river’s level drifting breadth began,
Where sky and Lincolnshire and water meet.

Photograph of Philip Larkin outside the Hull University library via weblink from the Melville House Press website.

Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2009

Here's a spot from Brussels that pushes buses in a way designed to appeal to the social animal in all of us.

Advertising Agency: Duval Guillaume Brussels, Belgium
Creative Directors: Peter Ampe, Bottez Katrien
Creation: Hans Kerkhoff, Raoul Maris
TV Producers: Emily Rammant, Marc Van Buggenhout
Production Company: Creative Conspiracy
Director: Guionne Leroy
Producer: Luc Van Driessche

Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2009

Understand a fraction. Know zero. See India Reborn on CBC. Tonight at 8 pm and again at 9.

This hilarious ad (seen here in situ) from Dublin sells safety with a smile if the reaction of riders is anything to go by. Yay Dublin.

Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2009

A couple of years ago we were handed a challenging assignment by Viva.
They wanted to make university students a core rider group, and make transit a behavioural choice for a new generation or riders. And oh, while doing that, they also wanted us to change the image of the bus as a loser cruiser.

No pressure, clearly.

Our single, unifying idea pivoted on transit’s promise of connectivity - its very reason for being. But we placed it in the context of the student’s world.

Viva connects you with the world you live in, we told them.
Yes, Viva gets you there on time, reliably, efficiently and comfortably.
Yes, riding Viva is good for the planet, but as importantly, when you ride Viva, you continue to make friends and meet people.

In a car you shut the door and cut yourself off.
On Viva, life goes on. Love goes on. Fun goes on.

The ads simply showed you how.

The campaign went on to win awards at transit and mainstream advertising award shows and was a huge success with students. We extended the campaign with an SMS marketing promotion in which students could win an iPod. If you'd like a case study with more details, write to me here.


Creative Directors:
Gavin Barrett, Mike Welsh

Art Director: Mike Welsh
Copywriter: Gavin Barrett

Photographer: Don Dixon

Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2008

Barrett and Welsh is heading out to San Francisco.

Gavin Barrett, Creative Director | Partner, Rao, Barrett and Welsh and Pushing Buses author, will be attending the APTA Marketing and Communications Workshop at the Hilton San Francisco Financial District.

We're looking forward to meeting the other APTA "Bus/CableCar/Train Pushers"!

Photo (c)Tomo.Yun http://www.yunphoto.net/en/

Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2009
All creative work shown is the property of its copyright owner(s) unless otherwise specified.

I'm proud to announce that Los Angeles Transportation Headlines, one of the world's most comprehensive aggregations of daily news on transit, transportation and urban planning, has included Pushing Buses in its Selected Blogs list.

Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2009

This lenticular poster from Australia promoting safety around rail lines and rail crossings is a perfect match between idea and medium.

One second, there's nothing there. The next...

Now that's creative that hits you like a train.

Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2009
All creative work shown is the property of its copyright owner(s).

This 1999 poster from the Underground's advertising archives shows that great brands weren't born yesterday.

An evocative precursor to the now well-established Making London Simple positioning, the poster makes the case for the Jubilee line with a single, intelligent sentence and great big serving of graphic wit.

Designed by Michael Johnson for the London Transport. From the collection of London Transport Museum.

Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2009
All creative work shown is the property of its copyright owner(s).

#3 in my series of Transit Logo Posters. This one's a collection of bus transit logos from around the world - and by no means is it the most comprehensive. As always, if you'd like a high resolution version (for free) write to me here.

Article, poster and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2009
All logos and trademarks shown are the property of their owners.

In the advertising and media section of today's New York Times, Stuart Elliot features Acela's brand new campaign. In the wake of Amtrak's high-profile celebrity endorsements from the likes of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, its high speed rail service, Acela, is stepping out smartly and reminding fliers and drivers of the creature comforts afforded by rail travel.

The commercial, by Arnold DC is slick; high production values are evident throughout. Though mass transit needs all the help it can get in gas-loving North America and while I'll put my money behind the morality of the common good any day, I have to be honest: good solid marketing? Yes. Mind-blowing creative? Nope. Pull down your skirt Arnold. Your briefs are showing.

Image from Amtrak's Acela campaign produced by Arnold DC, via the advertising and media section of the New York Times.
Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2009

Another logo "poster".
This time it's a poster of the logos of a few major international rail transit brands.
If you'd like a larger version, simply write to me and request a copy.
Coming soon, reviews of individual logos and brand identities.

Article, poster and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2009
All logos and trademarks shown are the property of their owners.

We've been very busy of late, redesigning brands or creating new branding for transit services. The process is usually elaborate and painstaking, and in order to do it right, I've had to traverse the universe of transit and transportation brands several times.
I must report that I've been horrified by the poor strategic and creative quality of most transit branding.

On occasion however, I've been thrilled by truly intelligent and iconic work.

I thought that I'd share both kinds from time to time. I'm kicking it off with a "poster" image of the logos of most of the major transit service brands in Canada. If you'd like a larger version, simply write to me and request a copy.

Article, poster and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2009
All logos and trademarks shown are the property of their owners.
This exceedingly simple TV spot for German Rail says it all without words. Stille Nacht indeed!

Agency (& City): Ogilvy Frankfurt
Creative Director(s): Christian Mommertz, Dr. Stephan Vogel
Copywriter(s): Dr. Stephan Vogel, Alexander Haase
Art Director(s): Christian Mommertz, Kirsten Rosenberger, Marco Weber
Production Company (& City): Telemaz Commercials GmbH
Film Director(s): Eugen Stemmle
Production Company Producer(s): Eugen Stemmle
Agency Producer(s): Julia Staerkel
Other(s): Director: Eugen Stemmle, DOP: Michael Krauter, Editor: Daniel Reusch, Sound Design: Christian Schneider (Pearls Musik)

Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2009

A billboard headline is typically 10 words.
Where on earth would an 82 word headline work on a billboard?

On a Mumbai street of course, where the traffic crawls.
Oh yes, Mumbai gridlock gives you plenty of time to reflect on the cleverly written copy: an exhortation to ride transit more and drive cars less. I should know. I lived there.
Copywriter: Sonal Chhajerh, Art Director: Sanket Pathare
via Ads of the World.

Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2008

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