Posted on May 03, 2024

Global-5 earned a Silver Stevie Award in the Small-Budget Marketing Campaign of the Year (less than $3 million) category of the 22nd Annual American Business Awards.

Global-5’s award-winning campaign introduced Central Florida drivers to I-4 Express, a bi-directional set of managed (tolled) lanes constructed in the center of Interstate 4 (I-4) through Metro Orlando. Our client, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), built I-4 Express as part of I-4 Ultimate, the largest infrastructure project in Florida history and a $2.4-billion effort to completely reconstruction 21 miles of I-4 through the heart of Central Florida.

I-4 Express, a concept new to Central Florida drivers, was developed with the express purpose of managing congestion. The managed lanes are a road within a road with different access points than the mainline, so drivers needed to learn new routes to familiar destinations. With those factors in mind Global-5 conducted a public outreach campaign that encouraged local commuters to use the new managed lanes and, importantly, amplified essential safe-driving information.

Research and Goal Setting

Before Global-5 embarked on the I-4 Express launch campaign, we engaged Florida Opinion Research to conduct a scientifically valid telephone survey and several focus groups.  As a result of these activities, Global-5 landed on key messaging related to user-valued benefits of I-4 Express:

  • Less Stress — I-4 Express is designed to keep traffic moving, which provides more reliable travel times.
  • Avoid Congestion — I-4 Express can help drivers skip congested areas when traveling through the busiest interstate corridor in Central Florida.
  • No Stopping — Tolls are collected electronically with an active and properly mounted SunPass or any other Florida-accepted transponder.

and narrowed the campaign’s goals down to two specific (and measurable) objectives:

  • drive user traffic to a new, Global-5-developed, educational website:, and
  • drive literal traffic to the actual managed lanes of I-4 Express.

The campaign’s success was measured through marketing impressions resulting from a paid campaign, website session metrics, and, of course, trips on I-4 Express. While tourists and visitors make up a significant share of Orlando traffic, the campaign’s target audience was commuters who reside in the four counties comprising metro Orlando since I-4 Express would serve primarily those drivers.

Given that I-4 through Central Florida generates 1.5 million average daily trips and we wanted to expose commuters to the I-4 Express message a minimum of six times (our standard working threshold for seeing and comprehending a marketing message), we arrived at the campaign’s goal of a minimum of 9 million marketing impressions.


The campaign employed a combination of earned, shared, and paid media activities:

  • The campaign’s shared media effort reached the intended audience (and tourists as a bonus) through partnerships within the hospitality industry and major employment centers along the corridor. Floor and desktop displays reached a daily audience of more than 100,000 pairs of eyes.
  • The campaign’s earned media included a media bus tour of I-4 Express and a launch day media release that together earned 546 local and national news mentions and an estimated audience of more than 96 million.
  • The campaign’s paid media involved Waze Zero-Speed Takeovers, YouTube and Facebook ads, digital billboards located upstream from the entry points to I-4 Express, 2,617 traffic radio spots, and two full-page ads in The Orlando Sentinel distributed to more than 1 million subscribers. Social media ads earned nearly 6.5 million impressions. Digital billboards earned between 28 and 43 million impressions.


The campaign lasted 13 weeks, starting three weeks before the opening of I-4 Express and running through nine weeks after opening. Prior to the campaign kickoff, Google Analytics reported 1,551 new visitors to During the 13 weeks of the campaign, Google Analytics showed 97,452 users initiating 120,331 sessions.

The campaign used measurement of vehicular traffic on the new managed lanes. Data showed that I-4 Express garnered 868,000 trips in its first month of operation, which beat FDOT’s forecast by almost 20%.

To find out how Global-5’s will use its award-winning communications expertise to design a budget-conscious public outreach campaign for your organization, please contact John Hamill at or 407-571-6771.