Friday, October 17, 2008

How far is too far with advertising?

An article in the New York Times explored the many forms advertising can take within public transit, from standard bus and shelter posters (as Ottawa has lots of) through to just about every inch of physical space in a transit station, including 'video' ads on the walls of subway tunnels. These tunnel ads are described in the Times story:
"Starting next spring with the 42nd Street-Times Square shuttle, passengers will see advertising outside the windows as the train travels between stations. The messages will look rather like jumpy 15-second TV ads.

"The tunnel advertising is part of an ambitious Metropolitan Transportation Authority plan to convert much of its real estate into advertising space. In addition to the tunnel ads, it will sell space on turnstiles, digital screens inside stations, projections against subway station walls, and panels on the outside of subway cars."
Personally, I don't really like advertising in public spaces, but I understand that the money it can bring in comes in handy when budgeting--thus balancing the detriment of disturbing mental and visual peace with a benefit of (hypothetically) lower fares for customers. However, there seems an obvious difference between relatively benign poster or billboard ads and dynamic, illuminated, moving-picture advertisements which throws a wrench into the balancing act.

How do readers feel about advertising generally in public spaces, and specifically in public transit spaces?

2 comments:

Peter said...

I have the right, in public spaces, to move and work without interruption and impairment. This is often caused by obtrusive and attention-grabbing advertisement.

A vibrant city is one that captures the eye with nature and art, not products and paper.

Dave said...

Personally, I don't mind advertising so long as it's unobtrusive. Walls of transit stations, inside top of trains\buses, things like that I don't mind. What starts to get me is when it's more in-your-face—something like this on the subway would be annoying and distracting, probably. Or, closer to home, there are those terrible advertising stands on Bank Street that get in the way of the sidewalk, that's advertising gone too far in public space.