MTA Swipes for Money: Agency Bringing Back Metrocard Ads

  • The MTA is soon going out with the old (and overpriced) in an attempt to maximize its ad space. The old we’re referring to is the signature face of the MetroCard, which will be cashing in its blue and gold aesthetics in lieu of an ad from any number of advertisers.

    Companies can now purchase space on the front of the card at a premium, and the ad space on the back will be available at a lower rate–18 to 51 cents per card, varying by quantity (this works out to about $25,500 to $450,000 a pop).

    Card ads that include an MTA or New York City Transit message will receive a 20 percent discount on most rates.  We imagine a lot of “McDonalds—perfect for when you’re on the go!”

    “Millions of New Yorkers carry MetroCards with them everywhere they go, and use them multiple times a day,” said MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota in a press release. “For those with a message and a desire to reach millions of people in a novel, attention-getting way, there is no better way to advertise.”

    So what does this mean for straphangers? Not much aside from a card that boasts a dainty new design, equipped with ad lingo to lure potential customers.

    Subway dwellers may also notice an onslaught of other advertisements to adorn the seedy underground space and its trains.

    The MTA is working to expand its advertising efforts to the exteriors of trains, full interior and exterior subway train ad wraps, digital advertisements inside the subway system and digital moving images on subway station sidewalk entrances among other things. Basically, it will be a moving Times Square.

    While we all wait for this ad-infused subway makeover, take a peek at some of the advertisements you might soon see plastered on your MetroCard.

    sgrothjan@observer.com