Metro targets mobile-savvy commuters

Daily newspaper relaunches mobile site with new features, apps, a URL and a barcode-enabled contest with Guinness.

Metro launched its newly enhanced mobile site this week amid a flurry of enthusiastic promoters and complimentary rickshaw rides in Toronto’s downtown core.

All that was missing at Union Station were cries of ‘Extra, extra!’ as street teams handed out papers and cellphone stickers while rickshaws branded with the mobile site URL offered commuters free rides to work. The target audience for the promotion was Metro‘s adult commuter readership in Toronto and therefore used commuter-friendly media, Christine Saunders, senior VP and group director for Starcom, the campaign media buyer, tells MiC.

‘The media plan strategy was to own transit, really,’ she explains. ‘Metro is all about commuting and information so…it was all was about owning the commuter’s minds today.’

The buy, which continues through the month, includes wrapped streetcars, exterior subway door wraps, interior subway dominations, online roadblocks and mobile ads. Valued at more than $1 million, the campaign also includes radio spots, 10-second national spots on CTV and in the newspaper itself.

Metro also set out to link the mobile experience with the newspaper experience by integrating barcodes into the paper that readers can scan with a smartphone via a free scanning application. The reader will then be taken to the relevant content on the site. The new tech is being promoted with a contest in association with Guinness, in which readers who scan a code can win a trip to Dublin, Ireland.

The site was previously offered under a couple of different URLs, so the strategy with the relaunch was to consolidate the paper’s content under one URL,, and to promote the new features it offers. Readers can now comment on stories via the mobile site, get puzzle answers, check showtimes and watch video. A new iPhone app will also be available later this week.

New advertising opportunities are also available on the site, Metro spokesperson Jodi Brown says, including new two-second loading page ads, wider-format banners, interstitials, in-article banner ads and top and bottom header-footer ads designed to frame the site. Not all of the new opportunities are available immediately, but will be rolled out in the near future, says Brown.