Sensis, a multicultural advertising agency in downtown Los Angeles, has won a contract to try and boost commuter ridership on Metrolink.

Sensis President Jose Villa said the regional rail line selected his agency because of its media planning and buying capabilities, and also for its understanding of the cross-cultural population of Southern California.

“It’s a challenge to get people in Los Angeles out of their cars,” Villa said. “For the early stages of the campaign, we want to talk to people in their cars and that means out-of-home and radio advertising.”

Once people start thinking about taking a train to work, Villa expects they will do research online and talk to friends. Sensis plans to guide them through this conversion process by reworking Metrolink’s site and participating in social media sites where online word of mouth occurs.

Also, Metrolink sees growing the Hispanic, African-American and Asian ridership as crucial. Sensis plans to begin by concentrating on potential Hispanic riders along the San Bernardino-downtown L.A. route.

“Hispanics are a key audience and Metrolink has never really engaged them beyond translating materials into Spanish,” Villa said.

The agency’s first campaign will start later this month along the Santa Ana (5) Freeway. Construction on the freeway will cause delays and the California Department of Transportation has given Metrolink a grant to help ease congestion.

“What better time to get them to consider Metrolink than while they’re sitting frustrated in traffic?” Villa said.

Account director Dan Tuft will be the lead Sensis executive on the account.

High-Flying Digs

Advertising agency 72andSunny plans to move to the former headquarters of Hughes Aircraft Co.

The 12-year lease will give the agency 58,000 square feet in two buildings, including the one where Howard Hughes had his office.

The new location “has an energetic and inspiring feel, a rich history of innovation and provides a great opportunity to be around other progressive creative companies in the Los Angeles community,” John Boiler, 72andSunny’s chief executive, said in a statement.

The agency is still in its smaller office in Culver City as the new office undergoes renovations. 72andSunny plans to move in March.

72andSunny clients include Activision/

Blizzard, Anheuser-Busch, Carl’s Jr., K-Swiss and Samsung.

Return to RPA

Santa Monica ad agency RPA has hired Jim Helberg as senior vice president of strategy, integration and analytics.

His responsibilities include developing campaigns with other agencies and media companies. He will also buy diagnostic research on campaigns and develop standards for accountability to clients in media buying. In addition, he will work with RPA clients including American Honda, Farmers Insurance Group and Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.


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