Upon hearing of plans by the MTA (New York City’s subway authoritative body) to ramp up their advertising throughout their property, it brought to mind a scene from Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report where the main character is trying to avoid surveillance in a world where advertisements are customized based on a scan of your retinal that identifies who you are.
The MTA has already rolled out plans where they are placing ads on the floor and ceiling of subway cars, but also now they are placing ads on the exterior shell of the subway car. The bombardment of the captive commuting audience is reprehensible, blurring the lines between the real world and the advertised world even further. But, it doesn’t stop there.
The MTA plans to gobble up every available piece of its real estate, and slather it with advertisements. That means soon the turnstiles will be covered in Nike Swooshes, the platforms of the subways will be pasted with Absolut Vodka ads, and even the walls of the tunnels will serve up the latest Microsoft gadget they’ll do their damnedest to convince you that you can’t live without.
In a city where the average adult sees over 600 instances of advertisements already, how much more are we going to take? How much more can we handle? How much more invasion into our daily thoughts and activity will we tolerate?