Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
The Toronto Transit Commission and the National Ballet of Canada have the antidote to the depressing “If You See Something, Say Something.”
In its latest ad campaign launched late last year, called We Move You, dancers from the National Ballet of Canada run, twirl, and twist their way through empty stations and rail cars with an elegance few riders can match.
The idea came about after the National Ballet contacted the TTC last spring to team up on a campaign.* “We wanted to reach existing customers to think about the TTC in a different way,” says TTC head of customer communications, Cheryn Thoun. As a result, We Move You turned into a print and online campaign, with streetcar wraps, posters inside stations and railcars, and videos on YouTube.
“We also wanted leisure users or those who maybe haven't used the TTC in a while to consider us for going out to attend all the amazing entertainment and arts events in this city,” Thoun says. The National Ballet, meanwhile, wanted “a new audience to see this art form as truly accessible, beautiful, and highlight the amazing athleticism and artistry of their dancers.”
Recently, We Move You won in two categories (“public sector” and “multi channel communications”) for this year’s North American Excellence Awards in PR and Communication. Thrilled with the results of the campaign, Thoun says We Move You “helped to shine a light on the ‘new TTC’ and how powerful these collaborations can be.”
The TTC has been able to do more ambitious advertising than most North American systems over the years, but We Move You is about as highbrow as any campaign can get.
*Correction: This article has been updated to clarify the origin of the collaboration between the TTC and the National Ballet for the campaign.