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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

April 27, 2017 -- GoSaMo, the advertising blitz by the City of Santa Monica to ditch cars for alternative transportation, may have reached as many as 60 million people in its first year, officials said Tuesday.

In an update to the City Council, marking officials in the City's Office of Communications said the GoSaMo campaign created 18.2 million “impressions” alone by advertising on the sides of the Big Blue Bus fleet.

Another 33.7 million “impressions” stemmed from light-pole banners, said Erin Taylor, senior marketing manager for the City.

In marketing, an advertising "impression" counts the number of opportunities to view an ad -- whether it is on a website or street sign -- and not the actual views, according to the Common Language Marketing Dictionary.

The reach of GoSaMo snowballed as the year progressed, picking up steam after the May 20 debut of the Expo Light Rail Line in Santa Monica, an extension that marked the first trains to the seaside city in more than 60 years, officials said ("The Last Train to Santa Monica," May 23, 2016).

Expo’s opening was viewed as a major turning point in the City’s effort to usher in a new model of mobility that focuses on rail, buses, biking, walking and other forms of alternative transportation such as car-sharing.

The $500,000 campaign launched last May uses ads in traditional media (such as street signs), digital media, social media and news coverage in an effort to convince residents, the overall workforce and visitors to become “multimodal” ("Santa Monica Greets Train's Arrival with Festivities, Campaign," May 20, 2016).

A recent survey by outside consultants showed most Santa Monica residents still use their own vehicle. But the survey -- which was conducted prior to the opening of the Expo line -- also showed alternative forms of transportation are making small inroads ("Study Finds Santa Monica Residents Still Sticking to Cars," March 7, 2017).

Since the Expo opening City officials estimate the use of alternative forms of transportation has increased by 10 million people, said Constance Farrell, the City's public information officer.

Taylor said GoSaMo’s reach was tallied by adding up “total impressions across all GoSaMo tactics implemented from May to November 2016.”

“For example, we’ve had over 50,000 people visit combined with 15,000 engagements of our mobility kiosk and over 1,500 TAP (bus cards) cards distributed, over 1.9 million views on social media, and more,” she said.

“We’ve added up all views and engagements across all methods used to promote the campaign and that comes to 60 million,” Taylor said.

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