Making a Big Change Easy


TriMet, the primary public transportation provider for the Portland Metro area, traditionally accepted fares in a variety of ways: cash, monthly passes, single-ride tickets and all-day tickets. To streamline fare collection, they were transitioning to a universal pass card that encompassed the benefits of all the previous fare types, and delivered the most economical solution regardless of how often you rode. However, people don’t like change and this was a big one. We needed to not only communicate all the aspects of this change, but make it fun and easy. TriMet came to us for our consultative expertise and creative vision to help them through this transformation.

capabilities tested

Art Direction & Design
Brand Strategy
Customer Insights
Media Planning & Buying


Since riders were accustomed to paying however they currently paid – in many cases for years – there was a perception that the new system might be more complicated and harder to use. We needed to make this new system approachable and friendly; to get the audience to think of it as a secure, simple, fast, fair and convenient way to pay fares. Our first step was to develop a name that conveyed all the features of this new e-fare. Our group of problem solvers and creative visionaries worked as an extension of the client team to create the name HOP Fastpass.

But the name was only part of the story. Additional research showed that a number of riders found change to be scary. Understanding what our client and their riders needed, we thought the best way to make something less scary was to make it more friendly. And in this case, friendliness came in the form of the “spokesblobs” we called HOPsters to carry the message forward.


The Hopsters started appearing all around the area. On the sides of MAX trains and buses, in newspapers and online, even on sidewalks and at local events where TriMet employees worked as ambassadors wearing the HOPster mascot costume we designed. Our creative visionaries developed work that was seen and talked about, elevating the brand while communicating the message.

Because we care deeply about our client and the impact their services have on the community many of us call home, we’re proud that our problem solving, customer insights and awesome creative execution were able to evolve consumer behavior and perception of the new e-fare system from being something seen as intimidating to being approachable and user-friendly.

The Hop Fastpass has now completely replaced all other fare payment for TriMet. TriMet has integrated the original characters and look and feel we created into all of their marketing efforts, so now wherever you go you see these friendly neighbors.