CSX decided to have a little fun with a marketing campaign on behalf of its intermodal business that features short videos with a cast of cartoon characters.
Dubbed Meet The Intermodals, the animated video web series began in the summer and continues to be featured on The Intermodals website, which was created to promote the railroad’s intermodal business.
The series features a cast of characters, including Mike the talking train, Carl the truck, Rosie the ship, Bob the crane, and Randy and Sandy, the stacked containers.
Their stories explain an aspect of the intermodal and logistics business with tongue-cheek humor and a jingle. Each of the 16 episodes lasts 30 seconds.
CSX said that the videos were part of a brand awareness campaign.
CSX built the campaign around intermodal service because it is “an important and growing” part of CSX’s business, said John Claybrooks, CSX director of brand and digital media.
“The other thing about intermodal is that it’s very relatable because most consumer products used in everyday life are delivered via intermodal transportation,” he said. “We thought we would be able to drive home how essential and relevant CSX is to consumers and the overall economy.”
For six weeks, CSX paid for promoted posts and sponsored content on CNN.com and on CNN’s mobile app. Before and after the paid campaign, CSX promoted the series on its website and Twitter sites.
The Boston-based marketing firm Mullen Lowe helped CSX create the stop-motion animation series, which Claybrooks said has appeal to a range of age groups, from millennials to their boomer-age parents.
“When we think about the generations that we’re trying to attract to our industry, we have to be where they are and communicate in ways that reach them,” Claybrooks said. “Social media is a platform that they respond to, so that’s what why we chose it.”
In addition to the videos, the Intermodals website features “Modal Mania,” an interactive video game that challenges players to place blue intermodal shipping containers on the correct train, truck or ship.
“One of the major trends in social media is gamification, so we were trying to find a way to leverage that in a business context,” Claybrooks said. “You certainly drive your engagement with your content a lot more by having gamification be part of your concept and execution. And the game certainly has contributed to the success of campaign.”
CSX said The Intermodals attracted “multi-millions” of responses in views, clicks and likes on Facebook.
No new tales of The Intermodals are planned but the existing episodes will continue to exist online.