Chicago Transit Authority MBA Campaign


  • Aurora University

This campaign used Chicago Transit Authority rail cards to promote Aurora University's online MBA program. The hope was that the print ad would catch a passenger's eye and then, through geofencing advertising (location-specific), reiterate the message with mobile display ads. Another wave of retargeting ads was used.

The rail card were larger than initially thought—the size was 11" x 46.5"—so we had some room to work with in terms of messaging. That still only meant three or four lines of copy, and I brainstormed a few ideas. One was really to the point—"You could be earning your MBA right now"—and, as it usually happens, that sparked the winning idea. How much time does our audience spend commuting each day?

The number was easy to find. It was nearly two hours, which was above the national average, so taking that two-hour figure and making it the leading statement could grab people's attention. Pairing it with the line "Imagine what you could accomplish" turned the stat into something personal for our audience, who may be considering advancing their education.

An interesting part of this rail card campaign was what could have happened. As I pitched my ideas, it was only a step removed from making this into a bigger brand campaign. If we're telling people how much time they spend commuting, why can't we do the same for social media (and advertise on Facebook/Twitter/etc.), as well as on screens (including computers and TV, advertising on each platform)? People spend around 10 hours a day on screens and two hours a day on social media. The rail card campaign could have led to an interesting and larger campaign for Aurora University.