WEST HOLLYWOOD – The California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO) gave the City of West Hollywood its top award in the marketing and communications category for the City’s innovative launch campaign for The PickUp, West Hollywood’s Free Nighttime Ride.
The PickUp (also known as The WeHo PickUp) is a trolley service that was launched as a pilot program by the City of West Hollywood in August 2013 as a cool and convenient alternative to driving for people who go out on or near Santa Monica Boulevard on Friday and Saturday nights.
The CAPIO award of Excellence in Communications was presented at the CAPIO statewide conference in Santa Barbara, California on Thursday, April 10, 2014 at an evening awards ceremony and dinner. Staff members from the City of West Hollywood’s Public Information and Economic Development offices accepted the award on behalf of the City.
The marketing and communications campaign for The PickUp was led by City staff and developed by a working group of City staff, Visit West Hollywood, the creative branding agency Symblaze, and Ballantines PR (BPR). The group developed a unique marketing approach, which was flirtatious and irreverent. The goal was to reach two key target audiences: 1) Gay men ages 21-45, and 2) Straight urban hipsters — specifically converting people into users who consider public transit “not for them.” The PickUp embraced five tonal attributes: cool, convenient, fun, friendly, and responsible. The visual language of The PickUp was developed using a bright palette of graphical elements, which can loosely be interpreted as pop art from the 1960s. Social media was fundamental in capturing the imaginations users of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. A rewards program, The PickUp Perk, was developed to encourage local business involvement, as well.
As part of the pilot program assessment, the City’s Economic Development office conducted an onboard survey of riders in January 2014. From August 2013 to December 2013 there were a total of 24,879 boardings. The data reveals that The PickUp hits its target audience: 90% are 44 or younger; 68% of riders identify as gay male; and 84% “love everything about The PickUp.” Ridership continues to average approximately 1,200 boardings per weekend.
In January 2014, in reviewing the results of a successful service and campaign launch for The PickUp, the City Council of the City of West Hollywood voted to continue the program.
The PickUp, West Hollywood’s Free Nighttime Ride, offers a safe and convenient way to get to a destination in the City of West Hollywood on Fridays and Saturdays from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. The PickUp is free (and fun!). It travels along Santa Monica Boulevard in a four-mile loop with 10 stops in each direction between Robertson Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue. It arrives at stops every 15 minutes and the music thumps to beat mixes by DJ Derek Monteiro.
Visit The PickUp online at www.weho.org/wehopickup.
For additional information about the The PickUp, please call (323) 848-6402 or check out The PickUp’s social media pages on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wehopickup and on Twitter: @wehopickup
For more information about CAPIO, visit www.capio.org.
A photograph of the awards presentation is available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/weho/13954505202 (from left to right, City of West Hollywood Staff Members Laura Minnich, Lisa Marie Belsanti, and Joshua Schare).