Case Study

Beat the Back Up

Goals and Strategy

The goal of this campaign was not only to educate Bay Area commuters about transportation issues in general but also to change behavior in an effort to encourage carpooling and increased use of public transit.


Beat the Back Up became a call to action for Bay Area commuters to change their single occupancy vehicle commute behavior – for one day. Tactical goals:

  • Secure three potent media sponsors (KPIX TV-CBS, KCBS Radio and the San Francisco Examiner)
  • to promote the event
  • Secure the participation of all transit operators and carpooling agencies in the Bay Area (as well
  • as the Air District)
  • Focus coverage not just on the “day of” event, but on the issues
  • Enlist widespread media support beyond the sponsors for this initiative


  • Beat the Back Up helped increase public transit ridership and carpooling by approximately 5% for the event day
  • Media coverage included not just regional and local placements, but national interest as well
  • Beat the Back Up was able to prove increased ridership not just for the event day, but continued, increased ridership months later


  • San Francisco Chronicle (editorials, news, photo placements)
  • San Francisco Examiner (editorials, news, photo placements)
  • USA Today
  • KPIX Channel 5
  • KCBS Radio
  • San Jose Mercury News
  • CBS Evening News
  • Oakland Tribune


Total gross impressions for the campaign were in the hundreds of millions, but in the end, the true ROI was the quantifiable change in behavior for Bay Area commuters – not just for one day, but long-term.

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