UP Express “Safety Never Stops” campaign honors unexpected heroes

Ads, Advertising, Business, CSR, Marketing

Sometimes the greatest heroes are the humblest. In the case of UP Express, a vital rail service between downtown Toronto and Pearson Airport operated by Metrolinx the heroes that make travel safe aren’t only their resilient staff – they’re also the spray bottles, the plexiglass shields, the hand sanitizers and the face masks, also known as capes for your face.

A service brand that has always upheld safety as a core component of its service, Metrolinx is taking strong measures to make riders feel comfortable on its trains, following a drastic decline in ridership since the start of the pandemic. But enhanced cleaning and hand sanitizer aren’t necessarily the most engaging topics, and the media landscape is full of somber messaging about these ‘unprecedented times.’ So, the brand recognized the opportunity for a distinctive tone to break through – to be entertaining and informative at the same time.

That’s why Metrolinx is welcoming people back on board through the perspective of the simple objects that are so essential to ensuring cleanliness.

Comprising social, display, print, out-of-home, and customer communications, the cornerstone of the campaign is a series of online videos focusing on “The Unknown Heroes” that highlight the sacrifice of various inanimate objects that make the safety effort possible.

Dramatic visuals and a heroic-sounding voiceover are juxtaposed with simple inanimate objects that exist solely for our cleaning needs. Each safety measure taken by Metrolinx is detailed through the perspective of the “noble cleaning spray bottle” that won’t stop cleaning until the world is “free of surfaces”, or the face covering forever “perched atop a lipsticked cliff.” Knowingly theatrical narration is accompanied by cinematic framing of these objects, adding a dose of levity to a serious topic, while time-lapse shots of sunset over downtown Toronto serve to remind audiences of the joy of travel.

This compelling campaign, created by BBDO Toronto, hopes to deliver on not just awareness, but assurance in UP Express. The Safety Never Stops platform has even informed safety actions and communications throughout the Metrolinx organization.

While the road to recovery for the travel industry may be long, UP Express is not only committed to the health and safety of its riders and crew members, they want to remind customers that they’ll be here for them when the time is right. 


Campaign Title: Safety Never Stops

Client: Metrolinx (UP Express)

  • Director, Brand & Digital Marketing: Sharyn Byrne-Nearing
  • Senior Manager, Brand Portfolio & Strategy: Leslie Millan
  • Brand Manager, UP Express: Julia Bojkovski
  • Senior Brand Advisor, UP Express: Faye Orozco-Ettienne
  • Manager, Social & Branded Content: Gillian Lanyon
  • Digital Marketing Specialist, Social & Branded Content: Antonella Lombardi
  • Digital Marketing Specialist, Paid Media: Julian Shenoy

Agency: BBDO Canada

  • Executive Creative Director: Chris Booth
  • SVP, Creative Director: Derek Blais
  • VP, Associate Creative Director: Mike Schonberger
  • Copywriter: Mike Schonberger, Simon Craig, Dave Delibato
  • VP, Group Account Director: Jennifer Jones
  • Account Supervisor: Karrie Kwong
  • Account Executive: Nasreen Mody
  • VP, Planning: Dan Koutoulakis
  • Senior Project Manager: Sarah Ng
  • Sr. Print Production Manager: Jennifer Wong
  • Sr. Production Artist: Jason Rooney
  • Production Company: Flare BBDO Toronto
  • Director: Matty McKane
  • Executive Producer: Dave Lembke
  • Director of Photography: Peter Hadfield
  • Post-Production Producer: Janice Rebelo
  • Editor: Steve Puhach
  • Colourist: Roslyn DiSanto, Darling VFX
  • Flame Artist/VFX: Andrew Hobbs
  • Audio Production Manager: Mike Rosnick