Over the weekend Public Transport Victoria launched a new education campaign titled ‘Model Commuters’, with the aim of promoting good behaviour on public transport. However the story behind it is long and twisted.
The government media release dated 17 May 2014 had the following to say:
Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder said the campaign features four distinct characters, each highlighting one simple thing commuters can do to make each other’s journey more comfortable.
“The four characters representing different types of behaviour are the Mover-overer, the Floor Bagger, the Quiet Talker and the Door Clearer,” Mr Mulder said.
“We’ve all been on a train, tram or bus when a fellow commuter has done something that has made our journey less enjoyable.
“With this education campaign four characters have been created to get the message across that we can all do something, no matter how small, to improve the way we go about catching public transport.
“It’s a friendly reminder to be mindful of your fellow passengers and put your bag on the floor, move over to the next seat, clear the doorway and speak quietly.”
The ‘Model Commuters’ education campaign is supported by a microsite that can be accessed at modelcommuters.com.au, where commuters can share their favourite model commuter via their social networks.
And the cost – $250,000 for the campaign, with the George Patterson Y&R agency being behind it.
The aborted launch
For me the odd thing isn’t the ‘Model Commuters’ campaign itself – but how it was prematurely launched in the week beginning February 10th, when posters for the campaign started to appear on tram stops around the Melbourne CBD.
A week after that, a number of brand and adverting blogs started to publicise the campaign.
Public Transport Victoria unveils four model commuters in a campaign via GPY&R Melbourne http://t.co/atpqxu7YRO
— Campaign Brief (@campaignbrief) February 20, 2014
Posters for the campaign also appeared on trams.
Those posters also mentioned a competition – “Vote for the next one at modelcommuters.com.au and you could win a yearly myki pass”:
An aborted release in early February and a cancelled competition to win a yearly myki pass – what is really going on with this Model Commuters campaign?
The http://modelcommuters.com.au domain name used for the campaign was presumably registered by Public Transport Victoria before the campaign was first launched, as the details were last modified in late February.
In between the aborted February launch and the actual one in May, the domain was just a redirect to the main Public Transport Victoria website, as these Google Search results show.
So who knows what the hell is going on!