SWTA Announces 31st Anniversary Spotlight Award Winners for Transit Marketing Excellence

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, July 2018 - The South West Transit Association (SWTA) announced its 31ST Annual Spotlight Award winners during the Transit Marketing Workshop held at the Aloft Oklahoma City Downtown - Bricktown hotel.

The SPOTLIGHT Award is the oldest transit marketing and advertising award given in the United States and is awarded for excellence in a total transit marketing campaign with a “biggest-bang-for-the-buck” emphasis.

The 2018 Spotlight award was presented to VIA Metropolitan Transit, San Antonio, Texas for their VIVA Passport to Adventure campaign. Th goals of the campaign were: 1) increase VIVA ridership among visitors and local tourists; 2) to create value/opportunities that entices partners to invest in the program’s success; 3) increase use of VIA goMobile app and Day Pass purchases among VIVA riders.

VIA Metropolitan Transit competed in Spotlight Award Category V, 5307 public transportation providers with more than 20 million passenger trips annually, then won the over-all competition.

The Judge’s commented, “This is a very smart and well-conceived campaign. Not only was it well strategized and executed with clear goals on behalf of VIA, the fact that the agency pulled in their partner vendors as extensions of the marketing campaign itself was genius. The creative was on point and at another level, messaging clear, and value benefits to the customers and partners.”

All categories in the Spotlight and Hit-the-Spot competition are separated by transit rides provided per year.

Category 3. 5307 public transportation providers with 1 million – 8 million passenger trips per year
Category 5. 5307 public transportation providers with more than 20 million passenger trips annually

The other Spotlight First Place award winner, by category included:
Category III, Topeka Metropolitan Transit Authority, USD 501 Student Pass Campaign. Judge’s comments: “I really liked this grassroots campaign. It had a clear goal, target, and showcased actual students in scenarios and didn’t seem scripted. It was very natural. I thought the idea of reaching out to local schools, classes, etc. to keep the cost low and the potential impact high was a great idea.”

Four additional categories, called Hit the Spot awards, give transit systems many opportunities to show off marketing and education efforts in single element projects.

Hit the Spot - Print Media
Category III, Denton County Transportation Authority, Summer Sales Direct Mail Campaign, Judge’s Comments: “The design of the mailer is colorful, fun, and appealing. The piece is very well executed, and the message is clear. The cost of the campaign seemed like a reasonable return on the investment. A great example of community partnership to include city/community sponsored events as well as municipal facilities such as libraries and local businesses.”

Category V, VIA Metropolitan Transit, VIAWorks Corporate Rideshare Brochure and Inserts, Judge’s Comments: “The look is cohesive and sleek. Excellent personalization to the different industries. The new U-PASS is an enticing idea for partnering with universities, offering transit services to all students for a nominal cost to everyone. This is a well-designed print product from the marketing agency.”

Hit the Spot - Electronic Media
Category III, Denton County Transportation Authority, #IAmDCTA Rider Testimonial Video, Judge’s Comments: “Great in-house production and solid branding. I really like the thought that was put into the camera work. It fits well with the documentary style and is a good fit for the film festival.”

Hit the Spot - Social Media
Category III, Denton County Transportation Authority, Revamps #WhyIRideDCTA, Judge’s Comments: “The message of the social media campaign was clear, concise, and well executed. The updated graphics gave the campaign a fresh, clean look. The people pictured in the campaign - a good mix of demographics - gave it a board appeal. The ‘bang for the buck’ was impressive, with a large social media reach.”

Hit the Spot – Events
Category III, Wichita Transit, NCAA March Madness Q-LINE Trolley Service Expansion. Judge’s Comments: “Straight-forward messaging to connect people with the service. Organic reach shows the value to the people, as they’re sharing information they see of value. Well-orchestrated campaign to drive ridership during the event.”

Category V, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, DART Systemwide Security Blitz. Judge’s Comments: “Good grassroots approach in connecting directly with the riders, making the police chief available out in the public eye.”

The 31th Annual Spotlight Award entries were evaluated by a group of independent marketing professionals from across the SWTA Region. The Spotlight Award competition honors outstanding work for a total transit marketing campaign. Entries are Judged on the following criteria: 1) “Bang for the Buck Quotient” – impact or success relative to cost; 2) Appeal – overall campaign presentation; 3) Execution; 4) Message; 5) Quality of Production; and 6) Effectiveness.

SWTA was formed in 1979 and is a regional transit association with members from eight states (Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas). SWTA’s mission is to provide a community of education, communication, and advocacy to strengthen its members and their ability to better provide public transportation services and products in the communities they serve.

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