Spreading THE JAM
Traffic jams are the bane of our lives, particularly if you are living in Auckland, but seldom do we take personal responsibility for it. Auckland Transport did, however, manage to get Auckland commuters to do just this.
Solving congestion is a major objective of AT and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), but getting commuters to take personal responsibility for creating traffic jams is a seemingly impossible task.
It’s well- known that Auckland has a major issue with traffic congestion and the lost productivity that this causes. A study in 2014 found that the annual cost of congestion in Auckland was $ 1.25 billion. Add to that the frustration and annoyance that it causes and the need for action becomes obvious.
For the first time AT tackled the issue of traffic congestion with a customer education programme. A ‘Spread the Jam’ video was created, touching on the major causes of congestion in a quirky and engaging way, allowing them to promote good driver behaviour without being seen to be ‘shaking a stick’ at motorists.
‘Spread the Jam’ answers the question of why motorway traffic slows down for no apparent reason. The video explained ‘mystery jams’ in a funny and engaging way, making it ideal for sharing on social media. Viewers are shown that apart from sheer traffic volume, the main causes of traffic congestion include cutting-in, tail-gaiting, rubber-necking and distractions, like cell phones used while driving.
The video was actively promoted through social media and was also promoted to young people preparing for their drivers’ licence. In addition, Auckland Motorway Alliance partnered with Auckland Transport allowing motorway onramp billboards to promote ‘Spread the Jam’ and its associated messages.
Just one promoted post for $ 159 on Auckland Transport’s Facebook site on 21 December 2016, and the video went viral. It reached nearly 400,000 viewers before Christmas and was shared by 1,700 people. By the end of January 2017, the video had reached over four million people, with 1.9 million video views and 28,000 shares. Nearly all of this early success was organic.
In February 2017, supporting paid media was used to ensure effective reach of the Auckland target audience. By the end of February, total organic reach on Facebook was 5,519,019 with an additional 532,679 reached via paid Facebook posts. The video had been viewed 2,479,486 times.
An awareness study concluded that 45 percent of working age Aucklanders were aware of at least one aspect o f the campaign. Of those, 95 percent agreed that it effectively communicates the message of maintaining following distances, 72 percent how ‘ mystery jams’ are formed, and 68 percent that drivers shouldn’t cut- in.
‘Spread the Jam’ was highly cost effective with a total spend of less than $60,000.