Metrolinx paying Instagram influencers to promote Ontario Line

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A new Metrolinx ad campaign featuring young, diverse influencers from across the GTHA is trending. These influencers are backing various transit projects — a move that’s got some critics concerned the posts are “premature,” and could be misleading residents about the level of design work completed for proposed routes like the Ontario Line.

Since late October, the posts have been popping up from a mix of 11 popular local personalities, from bloggers to YouTubers to fitness trainers, all with follower counts ranging from around 8,000 to more than 174,000.
The posts themselves have been gaining steam online, with one getting 17,000 “likes” and counting on the social media platform.

It’s the latest push amid Metrolinx’s recent shift into influencer marketing. In August, for instance, TV personality Rick Campanelli posed in front of a GO train, with the corresponding Instagram caption spouting his appreciation for a Niagara travel package — a common theme of earlier posts, supporting existing transit lines.

In a media report, a spokesperson for the provincial transit agency, wouldn’t reveal how much the latest campaign costs, saying those details require a freedom of information request.

Metrolinx is apparently pleased with the response to this campaign as it is reaching out to a younger demographic.

The agency also credits the campaigns with helping boost GO Transit ridership, which grew from 72.4 million in 2017-18 to more than 76 million a year later — a five-per-cent jump — with more gains expected this year.
But the latest campaign, with some posts focusing on a not-yet-built transit project, is “premature” and “insincere,” Toronto city councillor Josh Matlow said

The expressed purpose behind Metrolinx’s campaign is to create awareness, stir interest and public support. -CINEWS

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