The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority released an animal-themed print advertising campaign Thursday in hopes of fostering more respectful commuter behavior.
This ad campaign is the fifth in 12 years geared towards promoting better rider behavior, according to the MBTA.
Dubbed the “courtesy critters,” the ads feature various animals engaging in what would be considered rude rider behavior, like “hogging” up all the seats and being a “litterbug.”
Beverly Scott, MBTA general manager, said in a statement that she hoped the ads would raise awareness about respectful commuting.
“Riding the T every day, I know how important it is to be respectful and kind to other passengers as well as operators,” she said in a statement Wednesday. “Sometimes we need to be reminded of the basics and hopefully it will make everyone’s commute a more pleasant one.”
The six designs were created internally by the MBTA and the ads will be placed in 2,400 trains and buses, according to an MBTA statement.
Edward Boches, a Boston University professor of advertising, said the advertisements were acceptable from a marketing standpoint, but not in the actual execution of the message.
“It recognizes none of the insights we know about influencing behavior — never lecture, never reprimand,” he said. “Instead try and leverage existing behavior and celebrate and reinforce the behaviors that you want.”
Boches said the MBTA’s message lacked creativity.
“From a creative perspective, it shows no originality, cleverness or wit,” he said. “All of which are essential to creating messages that people pay attention to and remember. The T does have a captive audience. So people are forced to see the messages.”
He said if the ideas were more charming, the ad would reach out to more people.
A number of riders said they felt that the campaign reached out to a wider audience due to its lightheartedness.
“Everyone reads the boards in trains, and it will definitely help to educate passengers,” said Luis Alvarenga, a Newtonville bartender and commuter.
Though Alvarenga said he hasn’t witnessed rudeness from riders while on his regular commute on the Riverside-bound train, he feels the campaign will help commuters in other parts of the city become more conscious of their actions.
“When people realize they are behaving more like animals, they’re getting the right message,” he said.
Julian Arber, a Somerville resident and sales associate, said that the ads were “definitely a creative way of getting it across.”
She said that the “courtesy critters” are a refreshing take on a message the T has been putting out in so many different ways.
“Maybe the kids will reach out to their parents and ask, ‘Hey, what’s this picture saying,’” she said. “It might end up being a nice collaborative effort.”