How LA's Metro made public transport "cool"

Stephen Whiteside

People who live in Los Angeles have one common currency: their cars. They may be obsessed with movies, celebrity and glamour, but the automobile is their life.

And beating back that reliance – and unclogging the city's famously congested roads – is the marketing challenge for Metro, the local bus and rail operator.

"Public transportation is the blind spot of everybody in Los Angeles," Michael Lejeune, creative director for the organisation's in-house design studio, told delegates at the In-House Agency Forum. The storm of automotive-marketing messages never ends and Metro has to compete not just for share of road but for share of mind.

"You need to break through that clutter," Lejeune insisted, "especially with something like public transportation, which no one is waiting to hear from, quite frankly."