MiC K.I.S.S. Pick: VIA leverages downside of student life in clever campus blitz

To encourage college kids to catch that homeward-bound train to reconnect with their parental units, Ogilvy Montreal came up with a trio of wryly amusing images telling it like it is, plus a Cure Your Homesick Blues microsite.

For VIA Rail’s winter campaign, Ogilvy Montreal concocted explicit creative depicting what it’s like for students to be away from home for the first time. We’re talking piles of laundry, empty fridges and a severe lack of cash.

Rolling out now, the initiative offers downloadable coupons for student-only discounts of 50%-off regular adult fare on travel up to May 31, 2007. As a loyalty component, these e-coupons are available only to members of the VIA’s online campus student community.

The campaign includes a direct-drop piece, which is now being distributed in university and college residences in Ontario and Quebec. In New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, print ads are running in eight campus newspapers in Moncton, Halifax, St. John’s, Fredericton, Antigonish, Wolfeville and Sackville, as well as community publications including Halifax’s The Coast.

Meanwhile, mini-boards have been installed in 115 washrooms in restaurants and bars in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The creative is also running on closed-circuit campus TV screens at Acadia, Mount Saint Vincent, Dalhousie and St. Mary’s universities. Managed by Montreal’s Fokus Media, these images are mounted above Internet kiosks and broadcast 20-second visuals. Online, in addition to VIA Rail’s website, banner ads are running on Canoe and Sympatico (MSN Messenger, Hotmail).

With Publicité MBS Montreal handling the media buys, the campaign will run until the end of March.