NEW YORK: Metro, which runs the public transport system in Los Angeles, has benefited from the ability of its in-house agency to take a long-term approach as it tries to make travelling by bus or train become "cool".

Michael Lejeune, creative director for the organisation's Design Studio, told delegates at the In-House Agency Forum that projects such as revitalising the Metro brand required multi-year planning and implementation.

"The nice thing about being in-house is you do get to look down the line: you're not worried about your next engagement or billing on that, necessarily," he said.

"You can concentrate more on what's going to happen in a year; three years; five years." (For more, including how Metro transformed its brand, read Warc's exclusive report: How LA's Metro made public transport "cool".)

This perspective is particularly valuable in Los Angeles, where consumers are famously wedded to driving, and the roads are equally well-known for high levels of congestion.

"Public transportation is the blind spot of everybody in Los Angeles," said Lejeune.

The competition for space extends beyond the road and into the marketing arena, as consumers are blitzed with messages from automakers keen to tap into their passion for cars.

"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."

Metro's strategic marketing today remains much the same as it was when Lejeune assumed his role at the transport system over a decade ago.

"What we really need to do is make Metro cool. Even today, that is still what we're trying to do," said Lejeune. "It's the easiest, best, and most solid guiding light."

Data sourced from Warc