NYC the Blog has a nice roundup of the many ways the MTA uses signage, sponsorship, and advertising in popular stations such as Times Square — even putting messages on stair steps and turnstile bars. Like most normal people, the author is puzzled: “It seems as though most commuters ignore the advertisements,” he says, “and I wonder how effective any of it is.”
He might also wonder that, even with all these little ads, MTA is still running a deficit of over a half billion dollars and expecting it to get worse. Maybe the ads don’t pay much because buyers know that, in the sensory smorgasbord of these stations, they don’t make much impact. And maybe they’re indicative of the city’s and indeed the nation’s financial health: years ago we stopped making things and started devoting our time to sending each other messages –“data,” “content,” and what have you. Now that this ridiculous non-plan has come to a predictable result, our civilization frenziedly throws its capitalist gang signs as a dying cockroach will twitch its feelers — unconsciously, as part of its death throes.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 19, 2008