Silver Line’s ‘Dancing’ Commercials Cost Metro Big Bucks

by Karen Goff February 5, 2015 at 4:30 pm 23 Comments

Remember last summer’s television spots that showed people gleefully dancing around Reston in anticipation of the Silver Line’s opening?

It turns out that those three TV spots did not come cheap. Washington City Paper reports that the three 15-second spots cost nearly a half-million dollars to produce and air.

The TV commercials were part of a package of products to promote the Silver Line, including bags, tiny flashlights, pennants, lanyards and cloths (featuring a map of the Metro system) for cleaning eyeglasses.

Metro’s also spent $22,548.61 for focus groups to study how to pitch the Silver Line, and $53,196.96 for Silver Line street teams to hand out items, says City Paper.

But the commercials — which promised some sad sacks better things ahead such as a richer social life and a great new job once the Metro opened — were by far the costliest.

Says City Paper:

But Metro’s biggest–and priciest–push came in the form of dozens of dancers boogieing to the Wiehle-Reston East location. Backed up by a song from Australian power poppers Architecture in Helsinki, a conga line of joyful commuters make their way to the station.The message: Metro’s so great, people in Reston will start spontaneously dancing. That ad ran the cash-strapped system a hefty $483,320.42, according to Metro records.

Whatever you think of the ads, they worked–or something. Three months after the Silver Line launch, the new stations were approaching their end-of-year ridership goals. No word yet on how much of that can be attributed to the dancers.

How’s your Silver Line experience been so far? Do YOU feel like dancing? Or mainly just getting from Point A to Point B without incident?

  • JohnGalt

    I just hope that the train shows up on time, is properly displaying where it’s heading, that I can understand the operator and that the train doesn’t catch on fire or crash into another train.

    Glad to see they diverted resources to this instead

  • ag

    best commercial ever! kudos to the crew that created it

    • MeganH

      They only overpaid 480,000, it was really amateur.

  • Dexter Scott

    “The TV commercials were part of a package of products to promote the
    Silver Line, including bags, tiny flashlights, pennants, lanyards and

    Tiny flashlights to use when the train catches fire in the tunnel… cloths to urinate on and put over your mouth and nose when the smoke gets too thick… bags to put over your hand when you need to smash the window to escape…

  • vdiv

    Uh-oh! Karen is beginning to sound like the Restonian 🙂

  • Tammi Petrine

    Oh, wonderful! Who actually paid for all of this ridiculous stuff??? YOU DID with your toll dollars if you use the Dulles Toll Road. Isn’t having unfettered access to that cash cow wonderful for the Silver Line?

    Just ducky! Thanks, Supervisors who voted to hang this load-stone on the necks of DTR users! Also thanks to Patti Nicoson and all the rest of the cheerleaders for the Silver Line who couldn’t come up with an equitable financing plan so are allowing MWAA to steal our tolls in perpetuity while the rest of the entire metro area skates free of any cost/participation. Just wait until those tolls skyrocket to pay for the interest on $6 BILLION dollars!!! Then I won’t be the only one screaming… See reston2020.blogspot.com for expected future toll rates. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

    So glad this is an election year…

    • Chuck Morningwood

      Don’t like paying the DTR toll? Then ride Metro! It’s your choice as to whether you want to be the subsidizer or the subsidized.

      • Tammi Petrine

        Oh, Mr. Morningwood, I mourn for your linear thinking. What if a DTR user is a working person with a truck full of equipment? or a parent dropping children off at daycare or school enroute to a job or actually to simplify for you, ANYONE who is going where Metro is not or carrying material/goods that are inappropriate on a public train? The assumption that everyone CAN use Metro vs the DTR is arrogant and selfish, not to mention self-serving. When the taxes/tolls on the DTR rise to such a level as to preclude driving it (which is already reality for lots of folks), you will see the tax rich golden goose of Reston decline. Good luck with your reasoning then.

        • Chuck Morningwood

          There are plenty of routes. Using the DTR is a choice.

          By the way, if fewer people moved to Reston for any reason, I would be good with that also.

          • MeganH

            Not true, depending on where you are commuting to. Duh. To go or take an alternate back road route around would cost me an extra hour. But obviously, you’re not really concerned about others, you can take metro, so glad I subsidized it for you.

        • SmartReston

          Ms. Pertine,

          I have seen your comments here and in other places for a while now and I actually think it is you and your compatriots at Reston2020 that have the liner thinking and are not actually thinking about whats best for Reston 2020

          Your assertion that the DTR is an unfair burden on people in reston that no other part of FFX has to deal with is just plain false. I95 and I495 have express lanes and like the DTR if you want a fast way to get from distant points than they do have to pay the tolls however for any local travel there are several trunk roads here that are toll free.

          You are right that not everyone can get out of there cars for some of there work but many people can and can use mass transit or the RIBS bus system in fact it is the multmodal nature of reston why many people chose to move out here.

          Regarding the cost of the tolls yes it is a burden but the analysis you quote does not take into account the economic engine that the metro is and the amount of additional land value that it brings where we are all going to profit.

          In short everyone is going to get the land value increase and those that want to can chose to ride mass transit or not drive on the toll road…the cost is optional

          • Tammi Petrine

            To “Smart Reston” who will not sign his/her name:
            DTR users in Reston have been paying tolls since 1984. How many years have 95 and 495 been tolled? Also, those roads have express (luxury) lanes that have been just recently been tolled; free lanes are still available for those who can not afford tolls. So exactly HOW is my statement false???

            And about those rising real estate values: good luck paying the increased taxes on the very same house. The only way for YOU to profit is if you sell your house… IF you can find a buyer who can afford it. Then you have to live somewhere else. IF you love Reston as 2020 does, you will end up spending increased prices for your new house… So again, how did you ‘profit’?

          • Guest

            NOWHERE ELSE do tolls go for paying for transit, only the DTR. And that’s why they’re so high! And will get much higher in a few years.

      • Mike M

        Put down the kool-aid. Step away from the kool-aid.

    • novatom

      Don’t like the DTR? Don’t use it. I don’t.

      • Tammi Petrine

        I don’t either on principle. However we don’t have enough alternative streets/roads for everyone to avoid it. Our local economy depends on convenient access to and from our community. We are the ONLY region of FFX Co. to be cursed with toll road as our only main access. Our pols and power brokers have created an unnecessary burden on us that puts our property values and our business community in serious jeopardy. And no one is paying attention… YET.

        • SmartReston

          umm our local economy if you look at it historically is actually because of reston proximity to dulles airport and the ability to get there quickly while also being within a reasonable commute of DC…so actually the is the DAAH not the DTR that has been the economic engine.

      • Mike M

        Dude, let’s tax your main neighborhood road. The I’ll say don’t use it. You make no sense.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Hey, where are the Dancing Sharks? If it worked for Katy Perry, it should work for Reston as well.

  • Mike M

    Good thing they have so much money.

  • Mike M.

    A commercial that actually defies the law of physics, wow. Watch out cars.

  • Vina Hutchinson

    Overall, I’d say my Silver Line experience has been fine, but I really wish people would not push and shove to get to the platform. Is there not a rule about this? I literally had someone place her hands on me last Friday morning and shove me out of the way at the ticket turnstile so she could go first. This isn’t the first time — people constantly shove their past on the stairs, escalator, and platform. There really needs to be a guard keeping a watch and pulling these people aside. Sooner or later someone is going to get hurt.

    • comfortinmycar

      Precisely why I choose to take my own vehicle. When you say Metro, I think Cattle Call! People are so rude and in to much of a hurry.


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