Train-ing creativity

by Dan Westell, CBCNews.ca

Via Rail is trying to engage young people with an online promotion that lets them play ad agency.

The rail company has launched a website where 18-to-35 year olds can manipulate a Via print ad from its Beat the Car campaign, or create their own, using a photo and caption.

The nearly 900 entries posed by July 5 include:

  • "Improve your quality of life, make the kids walk while you travel. Take the train," on a picture of squabbling kids in a car.
  • "Vacation rental property or pampered ride with a view?" backed by the unattractive interior of a cabin.
  • "Remember what it was like to relax?" with a traveller watching the landscape roll by.
  • "Skip the jam. Our ride's smooth like peanut butter," with a choked highway as illustration.

And the inevitable begging post: "Never been on Via Rail. Never been to Montreal. Vote for me."

There is online voting, but the public wil not pick the winners. Via is offering prizes for the top three entries, as determined by the company, when the contest closes Sept. 5. First prize: a one day visit to a "renowned" ad agency, a night in a Montreal hotel and a $2,000 Via travel credit. Second prize is a $1,000 Via credit, and third a digital camera, value $300.

The first prize would get a traveller from Vancouver to Halifax, sitting up all the way, with a $900 credit left over.