as i was switching trains tonight, i saw the Chicago Rapid Transit's annual Santa train pull up at the Belomnt stop. (for the spell checkers among you three, that's "Belmont.") the train was running express to Evanston. i was in a hurry to get to the first of a couple holiday parties, so the "Express" part sounded good, but the "Evanston" part did not.
the mere appearance of it had the platform buzzing, and it was interesting to see how a brand that's usually associated with frustration suddenly overcome it, at least temporarily.
of course, a brand doesn't have to go all out to create more positive associations. a month or so back, i was on the same train platform one weekday morning when a train pulled up and a particularly enthusiastic train conductor spoke over the intercom.
"hey everyone, who wants to go for a ride? huh? who wants to go for a ride on a train? c'mon everybody, hop on board! we're going for a ride!"
we hopped on board. and our ride to work that morning seemed more fun than usual.