Superlatives abound as Auckland Transport unveils electric trains via Work Communications

Auckland Transport has rolled out the superlatives in a campaign for its new range of electric trains, which will start running in the Super City from 28 April. Developed by creative agency Work Communications in conjunction the production company Useful Films, the ‘Smarter, Better, Quieter’ campaign gives New Zealanders a sneak peek at the culmination of the $500 million project to electrify the city’s rail system.

“This is an exciting moment for the future of our city … [but]it’s also an exciting moment for Auckland Transport, because for the very first time we have launched a product or service to the public with a full-scale TV and online campaign,” says Auckland Transport’s manager of campaigns and customer insights Rob Pitney of the campaign, which comprises a pair of TVCs, billboards, a radio ad and several online activations.

The campaign was launched at the beginning of April via a 15-second teaser that gave Kiwis a brief first glimpse at the flash new trains. 

Then on 6 April, Auckland Transport launched the extended 30-second version, which is also hosted on the government body’s YouTube channel.    

In addition to the TVCs, Work Communications has also developed two-and-a-half-minute explanatory video geared at providing viewers with additional information on some of the new features that the trains have been kitted out with, such as automatic wheel chair ramps and space for bicycles.  

Pitney says that the extensive use of video footage was necessary to effectively relay the message that the state-of-the-art trains had arrived.   

“To really appreciate these trains you need to see them in action. [And] that’s why we needed to use television advertising. Combined with the online video our customers will get to see how great these new trains are and what a difference they’ll make for Aucklanders.”

Work managing director Gaylene Anderson concurs with this sentiment and says that the communications objective in this instance was less about the high-level specifications, and more about celebrating a new era for the city’s rail commuters.

Auckland Transport is supporting the use video footage with Trueview and Google display network ads, as well with a range of billboards that feature imagery of the the new trains. 

In a release, Auckland Transport cited the need to increase train patronage as one of the key objectives in launching the multi-layered campaign. It’s hoped that by showcasing the new trains to as broad an audience as possible, more Aucklanders will be encouraged to commute with a train rather than contributing to inner-city congestion with their cars.

Statistics released in February found that 11 million people used trains in 2013, which shows impressive growth considering that only 2.5 million people took trips when Britomart was first opened in 2003.

Interestingly, this isn’t the only campaign that Auckland Transport has released via Work Communications this month. The ‘Smarter, Better, Quieter’ creative executions come at the same time as Auckland Transport’s ‘Two Seconds to Kill’ campaign, which has been launched online, in cinemas and via radio with the aim of discouraging drivers from being distracted while driving. 

“People are constantly distracted and they don’t realise how dangerous it is. So with this campaign we wanted to show how much can happen in two seconds,” says Anderson.

To meet this objective, Work Communications launched two activations of the campaign. The first features a series of videos that showcase the remarkable things that people can do in a two-second period, while the second features a magician using sleight of hand to illustrate how prone the human mind is to distraction.   

“The campaign is really a continuation of the distraction campaign that we launched last year. Our creative team came forward with these [two new]ideas that really show how much can happen in two seconds … [and] the video consolidates this by showing how far a vehicle can travel in that short space of time.”

In contrast to screening this campaign to a broader audience as seen with the electric train spots, Work Communications has adopted a more targeted approach with the ‘Two Seconds to Kill’ campaign.

“We are screening these videos in cinemas in an effort to really target certain demographics. The great thing about cinema is that it gives you direct access to a certain group of people – males under 35 for example. And this allows us to communicate a message directly to this group.”      


Client: Auckland Transport

Rob Pitney: Manager Campaigns & Customer Insights
Jared Dougherty: Campaign Advisor

Agency: Work Communications/Work Media

Managing Director: Gaylene Anderson
Group Account Director: Tracy Smytheman
Agency Producer: Monica Anderson
Art Director: Martyn Fern
Senior Creative/Writer: Lisa Blamires
Studio Manager: Graham Bannister
Finished Artist: Ben Croxford
Media Director: Ginny Trethewey
Media Buyer:  Jasmeen Makan 

Film Production: Useful Films

Director: James Barr
Producer: Carne Bidwell
DOP: Richard Scott
Post Production: Images & Sound 
Stills Photography: Kristian Frires
Retouching: Cameron Jones


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