Management & Operations

Greater Cleveland RTA gives riders a crackling mystery to solve

Posted on July 1, 2002

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) held its “Mystery Line Find & Dine” contest in August to promote one advantage of taking public transit — having the time to read a good book. Using entry forms available online and at RTA stops and stations, riders were asked to help Milan Jacovich, fictional Cleveland private eye, find the RTA routes or lines that would take him to four Cleveland landmarks. Jacovich is the main character in The Irish Sports Pages, a new mystery by Cleveland native Les Roberts. Roberts was on hand at the contest kickoff on August 9 at the Tower City Center Station, greeting riders in the morning and signing copies of his new book in the afternoon. Contest prizes include dinner for two at some of Cleveland’s finest restaurants, autographed copies of Roberts’ book and RTA monthly passes. “We’re also hoping to catch some pertinent information about our riders through the entry forms, like where they choose to ride RTA and how they spend their time while riding, so we can build our database and communicate back to them,” said Eran Weber, a public relations account executive at Brokaw Inc. Brokaw is the creative brand development agency handling the RTA’s overall advertising campaign, called “Peel Your Mind from the Road.” The Mystery Line Find & Dine is the first event in an 18-month campaign that will highlight the less obvious advantages of riding public transportation, like having time to solve daily crossword puzzles, getting organized for work and home and forming friendships with fellow commuters. The campaign includes radio, print, interior bus cards, shelter signage and outdoor advertising. “Riding the RTA gives you the freedom to indulge in some of your favorite pastimes,” said Weber. “While practicality may have been the initial motivation to climb on board, it’s something more that keeps riders loyal to their worlds on wheels. This ‘something’ is transit culture — an ethos that transcends age, race and socioeconomic status. “RTA’s new campaign leverages this ethos in a no-nonsense way, playing up the less pragmatic benefits of riding RTA — like being able to lose yourself in a great book or avoiding a speeding ticket,” Weber said. The ultimate goal of the campaign is to retain existing riders and pique the interest of potential riders. The campaign will run through 2003 and cost slightly more than $557,000.

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