Skinny jeans. Ironic t-shirts. Coffee by the gallon. There are many agency clichés, but perhaps none is more enduring than the jaded ad guy (or gal) who doesn’t get excited about anything anymore. It never really fit us.
Then the launch of TriMet’s new Orange Line blew that not-so-truism right out of the 100% organic spring water. Sure, we thought our “Catch the Orange” line was, well, catchy. But it wasn’t until the run-up of the grand opening that we realized how many Portlanders were seeing (not to mention thinking and feeling) orange. It. Was. Everywhere. We saw “Catch the Orange” and the bridge illustration on buses and MAX trains on our way to work. On street signs during our lunch hours. On the TriMet Facebook page. At a Timbers game (complete with a “Catch the Orange” prize wheel and custom corn hole). Even in the design of a specially commissioned Pendleton blanket.
Orange fever had broken out and had spread faster than Cheetos fingers at a snack food convention, and we were gladly along for the ride. When the big day came, we were every bit as caught up in the excitement as our neighbors. We saw thousands of people wearing “Catch the Orange” buttons, eating cookies designed with the bridge illustration, carrying themed backpacks, enjoying the thematic flower display in front of the Orange Line trains, and listening to opening ceremony speeches incorporating our theme.
Was it a success? 40,000 opening day riders say so. But the takeaway wasn’t simply that we had helped create and shepherd a successful campaign. It was our partnership with TriMet. The chance to work on a campaign that was community-oriented and personally meaningful. The opportunity to be part of a momentous time in Portland’s history. And proof that concepts that have legs can take us further than we ever imagined. And that’s pretty exciting.