NORFOLK, Va. — Alabama, known for college sports, beaches, and space camp, among other things, will never be the same once Brainy, a giant, wide-eyed pink walking brain, arrives this week.
Brainy, a hapless brain in need of training, is Norfolk Southern’s (NYSE: NSC) public safety mascot. Brainy is part of Norfolk Southern’s “Train Your Brain” public railroad safety program, now in its sixth year. Brainy reminds people to be smart and alert around highway-rail grade crossings and to avoid trespassing on railroad property.
Alabama was selected as a target for the Train Your Brain campaign because it is a high-incidence state for train-vehicle crashes and trespass injuries. The campaign will focus primarily on Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, Sheffield, and Mobile.
The Alabama campaign will kick off in Tuscaloosa with Brainy appearing April 14 at the University of Alabama’s A-Day spring football game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Some 4,000 incoming Alabama freshmen are receiving stress “brains,” car decals, and campaign information included in orientation packets distributed by the university.
Train Your Brain safety messages will be communicated through outdoor billboards, gas pump ads, ice chest wraps, cinema ads, wall projections, Facebook ads, online banners, radio live-reads, text-to-win sweepstakes, University of Alabama and University of Alabama at Birmingham campus signage, public address announcements, and promotional giveaways.
Brainy and his entourage will appear at fairs, festivals, and other sporting events. At each event, the team will share train safety tips and distribute branded giveaways, such as brain-shaped stress balls, t-shirts, coloring books, children’s activity sheets, z-cards, car decals, and pencils.
Norfolk Southern launched the Train Your Brain program in Memphis in 2007, with the Memphis-based marketing communications firm Archer Malmo providing creative support and coordination. Over the last five years, Norfolk Southern and Archer Malmo have collaborated to expand the campaign to North Carolina, Indiana, and Ohio. Train Your Brain’s safety message has reached more than a half-million people through event appearances.