the priority in spending £100k of a client's marketing money

During a pitch a few years ago, we got asked what we would spend £100k of the client's marketing money on.

Our answer was along the lines of "as much as it takes to get the service great, and whatever's left on advertising it". Not sure if that was what they expected to hear but the fact we didn't get the gig should tell you a lot.

Although I wasn't expecting the question and was put somewhat on the spot, I'd stand by the answer just as strongly now.

In it's rawest form public transport is about taking people from A to B, in safety, at an agreed time and at a priced deemed value for money. Operators need to be consistently delivering these four things before they even start thinking about marketing. After all, great advertising will just make a poor product fail even faster.

Customer's rarely give you more than one shot to change their behaviour - if you talk the talk in your advertising about how great the bus/train/tram is, the product has to back it up and walk the walk.

If you can't do that, it's best to keep that money in your pocket until its ready to be effective in persuading modal shift.