Condescending advertising from Metro Trains

Advertising is a hit and miss game, and Metro Trains Melbourne’s results are no different – sometimes they win, like back in 2013 with their ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ rail safety campaign, but other times they come up flat. A recent campaign in the local edition of mX is an example of the latter.

Inane advertisement from Metro trains for their 'Metro Notify' smartphone app

Promoting their new ‘metroNotify’ smartphone app that informs passengers of disruptions to Melbourne’s rail network, the first full page advertisement appeared on the rear page of the January 16, 2014 edition. The wording was as follows:

The bad news is your metroNotify app says there’s a Travel Alert and has given you special instructions for your journey.

The good news is you got special instructions without listening to drivetime radio, like people used to do before Steve Jobs invented magic phones. And now that you have a set of ‘special instructions’ you sound cool & mysterious. Be cool & mysterious, download the metroNotify app today.

Sounds pretty inane, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately Metro went one worse the next day, taking the campaign in an incredibly condescending direction.

Condescending advertisement from Metro trains for their 'Metro Notify' smartphone app

If you can’t read the text, here it is:

The bad news is your metroNotify app says there’s Minor Delays of 5 to 15 minutes.

The good news is it’s only work you’re going to. Now, if your work involves something cool like hatching baby dinosaurs, you might wish you weren’t delayed. But if you’ve got a boring, normal persons job – you just won the morning lottery. Your prize – a few less minutes at work. Enjoy a few less minutes at work: download the metroNotify app today.

Who the fuck at Metro approved an advertisement that compares a train making you late for work to “winning the lottery”?

In exchange for firing whoever through that was a clever idea, here is a free idea that Metro can use to make light of delayed trains:

The good news is that that you don’t need to scoff down that piece of toast before you run out the door, you’ve got a few extra minutes until you need to head down the station. Enjoy a relaxed breakfast every morning: download the metroNotify app today.

Or how about a factually accurate one?

The good news is that that you don’t need to wait at a lonely unmanned station waiting for the train. You can relax at home, instead of a under a poorly designed veranda that lets Melbourne bitterly cold winter blow through. Enjoy the waiting room that Metro won’t give you: download the metroNotify app today.

Or with the hyperbole knob turned up to eleven?

The good news is that your boss is going to sack you for being late to work for the third day this week. No more waiting for the train each morning, you get to drive to the Centrelink office instead. Enjoy unemployment: download the metroNotify app today.


Anyone with half a brain knows that if you have a job where you’d get the sack for being late, that you will catch a train far earlier than you think you should, just to make sure you get there no matter how badly Metro manages to fuck up.

July 2014 update

Metro has brought back their ‘glass half empty’ campaign for their metroNotify app – but this time they left the condescending messages at home.

New version of the 'Glass half empty' promotion for the 'MetroNotify' app

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11 Responses to “Condescending advertising from Metro Trains”

  1. scott says:

    It’s also annoying when you are trying to view the details for the next tram on tramtracker, and they keep flashing messages up advising passengers to “drink plenty of water” or “hold on and have a stable base on the tram”. Yarra Trams treat their passengers like children.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      A perfect example of ‘stopping the proceeding with idiocy’ –

      Yarra Trams abusing the 'service updates' feature of the TramTracker PIDS for trivial safety messages

    • Evan says:

      Well, if so many of their passengers didn’t behave like children…

      Just be content in the knowledge that the messages aren’t directed at you. And if you want a superiority trip – look around at all those that they are directed at!

    • scott says:

      The council are now frantically increasing the size of the footpath along little lonsdale st because of the increased foot traffic. As I write this they are extending the footpath on the corner of Little Lonsdale St and Exhibition st. The extension of footpath is likely to run along the entire stretch of Little Lonsdale st for safety reasons.

  2. sealedjono says:

    I just love it when tram tracker gives me two phantom trams in a row off peak, says my tram is “coming now” for 3mins then it’s gone, says the next trams is in “24mins” and then 40mins later it’s still “4mins” away, then gone again, if I’d known it was going to be an hour i would’ve gotten a train, although journey planner does tell me to take train lines that metro says have “Major delays” over “good service” ones and stopping to touch on made me late for work because the train was early and i was only on time 🙁

  3. scott says:

    The new super stop on the corner of La Trobe st and Elizabeth St is a joke. It forces more pedestrians onto Little Lonsdale St, which is not designed for high pedestrian use. This is also very dangerous, as twice I have almost been cleaned up by trucks entering and exiting the entrance which is located just a few metres from the corner of Little Lonsdale St and Elizabeth St. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

  4. mich says:

    Really ? Listen to “drive time radio” for transport news ? Obviously, the mindset of someone who drives to work and has probably never used public transport.

  5. Bucky says:

    On an interesting note, I wonder if the same (better or worse) can be said about some of the Dumb Ways to Die print advertising campaigns occasionally appearing in the commuter papers. Had fun collecting some of them!

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