Union Pacific 2016 Crossing/Pedestrian Safety Campaign

Union Pacific


About every 3 hours in the United States, a person or vehicle is hit by a train. These incidents are often caused by one of two instances: a motorist believes they can beat a train before it reaches the crossing, or a pedestrian believes they will hear a train coming in time to get off the tracks. However, with over 2,500 rail-related incidents in 2015 alone, it becomes clear that trains and tracks are much more dangerous than people think.


At Union Pacific, the safety and wellbeing of its employees, customers’ freight and the communities it serves is priority one. As part of this ongoing commitment, Union Pacific set out to create an awareness campaign, educating the public about the importance of putting their safety first around railroad tracks.


Geile/Leon developed a multifaceted digital campaign that would target nine key markets across Union Pacific’s service area. Utilizing Google TrueView, Pandora digital radio and social media as platforms for the campaign, G/L developed creative that used strong safety messaging relevant to both motorists and pedestrians.

Life is Worth the Wait

Let’s face it: drivers hate waiting for trains, especially if they’re in a hurry. Despite how dangerous it is, many people think they can get around the crossing arms or outrun the train to save a few minutes. To tackle this issue, G/L produced two videos showing drivers in real-world situations where they are faced with the split-second decision to risk their lives or wait for a train to pass. The videos remind viewers that, no matter what, your life is worth the wait.


There is a time and a place for selfies…and train tracks aren’t it. In 2015, train track selfies were cited as the second leading cause of death involving selfies. Targeting pedestrians, G/L created two animatic videos showing the more ridiculous locations for a selfie photo, and likening it to snapping a selfie on railroad tracks.

Earbuds Aren’t Always Your Buds

It seems like a no-brainer—if you’re walking across or near train tracks, you want to be completely aware of your surroundings. But a Google search of “earbuds on train tracks” yields an alarming number of hits on the unfortunate and untimely deaths of individuals who have trespassed on tracks while wearing earbuds, therefore unable to hear an approaching train. To raise awareness of this issue, especially amongst those who frequently listen to music while wearing earbuds, G/L developed a radio spot for Pandora digital radio.


To date, the campaign has seen incredibly positive levels of awareness and engagement across all mediums.

As this is an awareness campaign, the ultimate goal is to maximize the number of people exposed to the creative content and safety message. Using the Google TrueView advertising platform, G/L maximized both budget and views for the Life is Worth the Wait and Selfie videos on YouTube.

By selecting age and location as targeting parameters, we ensured that only individuals within Union Pacific’s target markets would see and/or engage with the video content, while still allowing for a maximum number of impressions to be served. To date, the TrueView campaign has delivered over 12 million impressions, resulting in 2.7 million views/engagements and an average cost per view of 11 cents.

The Pandora radio spot and accompanying display creative targeted commuters in the Chicago area, where a large volume of commuter trains run on Union Pacific tracks. To date, the Pandora campaign has served over 7 million impressions and has reached over 170,000 unique users across Pandora. The campaign has received over 15,000 clicks for a .66% click through rate, which is on par with the Pandora Transportation Vertical benchmark.

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