All Aboard! Transit Advertising

Kandace McLaughlin, for HealthLeaders Media, July 16, 2008

Click to view larger version.Lost for ideas on where to target your audience? With gas prices and public transportation numbers at a high, why not look to transit advertising? Bayshore Community Health Services in Holmdel, NJ, is one facility that has recently decided to launch a transit-based strategy that has resulted in increased community awareness and local train station domination.

Bayshore launched initial research to determine where to target their consumers. "A lot of people who have moved to this area relocated from New York City,' say Bob Gagauf, president of Bayshore's agency, R&J Group in Parsippany, NJ. "We're in a booming real estate market in an area that is attracting more, well-off, sophisticated, well educated people. Being only 45–50 minutes from New York City, a good segment of that target market is going to be going through the train station.'

Focusing on a need to increase brand awareness, with a train station only a stone's throw away from the hospital, Bayshore jumped on the opportunity to target their audience in a new way. They used one-, two-, and three-sheet posters at various stations along the transit line along with light pole banners.

"If you went to the station all you saw were ads for Bayshore,' says Gagauf of the ‘train station domination' strategy. Bayshore also put up displays and deployed staff to interact with commuters, answer questions, and give out pamphlets.

The ads positioned Bayshore as a community facility with an interest in asking its consumers important questions about their adult lives with simple corresponding imagery. One example can be seen in the poster featuring an apple with copy that asks, "What's Next?' It goes on to discuss that health is a priority and that the professionals at Bayshore know where ‘you're' coming from. It finishes with, "Yes, welcome to time-crunched, fast-paced, wonderful adulthood—and care designed just for you,' with a call for action to the Web site neatly tying it all together.

An added bonus to the transit advertising is the length of exposure. With transit the average wait time for a train is about 5 minutes according to Gagauf. "That's more time than they would spend with a billboard,' says Bob Szalva, media director for R&J Group. "Most people are there every day, seeing the messages at all the stations.'

Overall, research showed that the outdoor advertising had the single largest increase in awareness for the facility. "There was a significant increase in awareness and in terms of effectiveness it was cost effective too,' says Gagauf.

Kandace McLaughlin is an editor with HealthLeaders magazine. Send her Campaign Spotlight ideas at If you are a marketer submitting a campaign on behalf of your facility or client, please ensure you have permission before doing so.
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