I think there are three essential skills to riding the NYC subway: catching the L train, looking really casual while leaning on the subway doors, and avoiding eye contact. The most important of the three must be avoiding eye contact; there is nothing worse than awkward subway eye contact. So, where to look? The only place left to look is to the multitude of ads in the trains and subway stations. I want to look at the recent Seamless subway ads all over the 14th st-Union Square station and subways. 

       Seamless is a popular digital food delivery service and recently they’ve run an ad campaign all over the union square station. These ads are very targeted towards youth culture. More specifically towards the “lazy,” or “shut-in” young New Yorker. The subway space is much like the “shrink-wrapped, ” (65) ad-heavy events described in Naomi Klein’s “Alt. Everything: The Youth Market and the Marketing of Cool.” The subway and subway stations are enclosed spaces made up of advertisements. Ads inhabit so much of subway space and as Klien points out, it’s an example of how “it is a colonization not of physical space but of mental space” (66). Riding the subway is a big part of many New Yorkers daily routine and it’s important to measure the effect of these ads and what they are saying because they are what we look at the most while on the subway. The ads and their message become part of our daily routine; it’s hard to imagine the subway without them.

     The Seamless ads show that Seamless is “in” on the joke. The ads are filled with intertextual references to other websites/apps.  Referencing apps like Foursquare or websites like Reddit, Seamless invites itself into those apps/websites audiences. To ‘get it’ you have to understand the reference and be apart of that already constructed, plugged in audience. After all the add is referencing a “sub-reddit” not just Reddit…

      The ads are hip and cool. There is a lot of “ironic detachment” (79) to this method. They poke fun of you, “Your delivery guy’s 246th check-in oust you as “Mayor” of your own apartment” (ad below), delivery services—the thing they are trying to promote—and how much you use delivery services. It assumes you are the quintessential New Yorker and calls you out on constantly using the service while inviting you into their delivery food system.

      Seamless, the web-service, ads directly references other websites, mobile devices, because it knows its audience so well. It builds itself off that scene and surrounds the Union Square Station, a station and area known for a more youthful feel, with its ads. Inundates it with the jokes and at every turn reminds that Seamless is there for you. I think advertising in the subway, however invading it is to our already crammed personal space, is becoming an important fabric in youth market consumerism and these Seamless ads are the perfect example of such. 

 

-Kareen 

      ImageImageImageImageImage

Advertisements