Lessons on how to iterate a campaign

Yarra Trams and Icon Agency launch third instalment of the Tram Coach campaign and reflect on how to construct a multiple phase program

The latest iteration of Yarra Trams’ safety campaign launched recently with a new theme ‘Wherever you’re from, this is how we tram’ which targets people visiting Melbourne from out of town or overseas with safety messages.

It’s the third iteration of the campaign, which was launched in late 2017, and each version has taken a different theme around the central message of how to travel on trams safely. 

The campaign, by Icon Agency in Melbourne for Yarra Trams, features a ‘tram coach’ who share messages on how to avoid slips and falls while travelling on trams around the city. 

The campaign, run across three phases, has included social media, outdoor, ambient and ‘guerrilla’ advertising, PR and earned media utilising video and graphics for social media, tram posters and screens.

The first version targeted local Melburnians with general safety advice from the tram coach. The second iteration in 2018 again featured the tram coach and this version targeted seniors with travel safety messages. 

Yarra Trams told CMO that choice of ‘tram coach’ to gently guide and advise passengers was a deliberate one to convey safety messages in a way that resonates with Melburnians and visitors alike in a fun but educational style.

“Since tram coach is just like a fitness coach - who will be heard before he is seen - we feel that his approach is more engaging than instructional,” a Yarra Trams spokesperson told CMO.

Yarra Trams, director, passenger and network innovation, Emilie van de Graff, added: “Safety is paramount at Yarra Trams. That’s why we knew we had to relay our safety messages to visitors and native Melbournians alike in a fun but educational style. Tram Coach from the creative team at Icon really helps to get that message across.” 

Icon Agency told CMO it aims to create universal ideas with longevity to create change, which is integral to building an iterative campaign. A spokesperson explained to CMO these universal ideas are built specifically as 'narrative brand platforms’ which means they can continuously extend through different iteration phases.

"In this example, a coach is a universal icon for best practice. By creating a character to go with this idea, tram coach, we were able to create a ‘brand personality’ that could continue to tell stories, long-term, with an educational tone of voice.”

Icon Agency has said the first campaign launch resulted in 20 print and online articles in Victorian regional and metropolitan dailies with a total reach of 6.4 million and the first quarter (Q4 2017) showed a 40 per cent reduction in slips, trips and falls compared to Q4, 2016. 

The latest campaign will run across digital ‘Destination Melbourne’ tourist channels, Yarra Trams social media channels, Adshels and mixed tram media using iconic characters, a wizard, Viking and an astronaut, who are visiting from far-away places being welcomed and educated on tram safety by Tram Coach.

“Tram coach has been teaching locals how we tram for a while now. We thought it was time to take his message further. Now he’s a global safety ambassador for Melbourne’s trams,” said creative director, Icon Agency, Ed Bechervaise.

This campaign, which runs online and offline, geo-targets incoming visitors with content to show them the ropes before arrival. It includes outdoor tram stops, on board tram media and collateral in tourist hubs with tram safely messages for those uninitiated in the ways of Melbourne tram travel. Like most public safety campaigns it has to package important information for education and action.

 “... if you’ve never been on a tram before, it may be a different experience at first. We specialise in behaviour change and thought a campaign that uses Tram Coach’s universal charm would be a fun way to capture and retain consumer attention,” said creative director, Icon Agency, Rod Clausen.

Iterating a campaign such as this, which uses a central theme and single point of reference in the tram coach character, provides both continuity across multiple phases and adaptability in tweaking the message for different audiences. 

Icon Agency explained it "means we can continue to deliver to Yarra Tram’s needs, through a single platform, while answering different objectives through the flexibility of this personality.”

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