Shaun Engstrom reports this morning:
BREAKING NEWS: Coraline stop motion ad between Harvard & Central Sq replaced w/ Blue Man Group. It's been 2 years, praise the MBTA gods.
The power wasted on the Coraline ad probably could have lit several homes over the past 2.5 years. Just like the heat in the Davis Square Station men's room, which was on for about four years.
The T has little credibility to bitch about revenue or propose disruptively radical measures like selling naming rights on stations (and confusing the hell out of people who use station names to...you know...identify location) the way they've managed these ads. The money they got from the ad agency for running Coraline came and went 2-1/2 years ago, and it's just been chewing up electricity since. And prior to the Coraline ad those things were just dark for months on end when one campaign ended. They're not even close to getting full utilization out of it, and that's unfortunate because it's pretty damn effective at grabbing attention.
There's so many things they're not doing. Why is it that every cab in town has video screens mounted on top while nobody's tried that on trolleys or buses? C'mon...there's abundance of ultra-thin, cheap, low-power LCD's today they could mount on the vehicles' side ad panels and cycle all manner of video ads. Paid for by the ad agencies. They'd rake cash hand over fist on the B and E lines with the saturation exposure to the crucial 18-34 college and young professionals demographic. That would be some of the most prime ad space in town. As is they're 10 years behind the times vs. the cabbies not taking advantage of this, and falling further behind as vehicle interiors and even buildings, elevators, and frigging restrooms bombard the senses with non-stop audio and video ads.
At least bring the ad wrap back. It's got added benefit of acting as duct tape for the rusted corpses of the subway trains they won't replace or repair.
Perhaps they suspect (quite rightly, says I) that any video screens mounted on the B or E lines would be covered with band stickers in about fifteen minutes.
Those taxi LCD's are covered by a cheap plexiglass scratchguard that buffers the screen and absorbs every ding and scratch the road and weather throw at it. It's no problem at all to take a razor scraper to it like any any stickers removed from the interior of a train. If the plexiglass gets too scuffed up and starts to obscure the ad...replace it with another $5 piece of plexiglass.
The ad agencies are financing these screens, just like they do on taxis. All the transit agency/company has to do is provide the few watts of electricity from the vehicle and run the things with the correct ads. They're not out the money when those things break in normal conditions. If they were none of the city's cheapskate cab operators would ever install them. They're fully outside-subsidized.
Besides, the T pounces quickly on graffiti. You rarely see any tagged train exteriors go back into service the next day without being cleaned, and rarely see any tagged interiors or station property last a full week before getting cleaned or temporarily patched (in case of scratchiti or defaced maps/signage). They've always been right on top of that problem, unlike NYC.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I assumed the light that lit the Coraline ad was the light from inside of the train cars. Did they actually have individual lights above each of the Coraline frames?
Yes...individual strobe lights over each frame (think they're LED, but don't know for sure). The ad is activated by a sensor that detects an oncoming train, and it only turns the strobes on if the train is moving fast enough to display the ad with the correct frame rate as the train passes by. If the train is crawling out of Harvard slower than usual it doesn't light up at all.
If the timing's just perfect and you're in an outbound train going into Harvard passing an inbound train that triggers the ad, it's actually possible to see it play backwards on the outbound train. Only happens by chance, but ride the Red Line every single day and odds are you'll get the rare opportunity to see it backwards once in a great while. (No Satanic messages appear when played in reverse...so far.)
Why is it that every cab in town has video screens mounted on top while nobody's tried that on trolleys or buses? C'mon...there's abundance of ultra-thin, cheap, low-power LCD's today they could mount on the vehicles' side ad panels and cycle all manner of video ads. Paid for by the ad agencies.
Why not do this? I think the answer is: because Boston isn't a city of garish whores.
Uhh...except all the city-LICENSED cabbies already do it. Commercial buildings and establishments already do it. Government buildings are starting to do it. Nobody says it has to be Times Square covering every inch of every bus. But it's pretty silly to be prudish about this when ad saturation is taking over the town anyway, the T is passing up substantial amounts of revenue not utilizing its ad space effectively, and the alternatives it is considering--like selling station naming rights--are many times more garish and legitimately confusing to customers (remember the State/"Citizens Bank" naming fiasco...we've already been down that road).
The T's got enough systemic problems that there's no pride in willingly passing up proactive action out of...Puritan tradition? Anything it can do to help itself, however small, is a step in the right direction that'll perpetuate more steps in the right direction. They don't face the kind of choices where this stuff is realistically optional.
We're already garish whores 8 hours a day, but you see another 8 hours a day we could be plying our trade, and still have smoke breaks and a solid 6 of sleep? It's just good old-fashioned common sense?
And are we we, or are you actually the pimp or the john?
Here's an alternative to "we're in such bad shape because we do all these really stupid things, so let's do some more stupid things": stop spending so much money on wasteful and counterproductive programs, and then we can afford a reliable public transit system without doing every trick we can like two-bit crack whores.
The MBTA proposed putting audio ads on buses and everyone freaked out. Maybe Adam can better remember which article that he posted it in.
There's a restroom in the Davis T station?????????
Praise the lord!
Ad sales are about the only thing the MBTA does right, and they even screwed this inventory up.
Massachusetts: Employing the Unemployable Since 1620
To be fair to the MBTA, the exact same ad was still in place when I was in DC in August 2009, also on their red line.
Considering it was the same ad, for a February 2009 release, Metro also had some trouble finding a new ad for the location. No idea if it's still there.
It's not the MBTAs fault, the ad buyer must specify they want that kind of ad. And guess what, most ad agency execs don't ride the subway so they're not even aware of the opportunity.
I only know of one other ad that ran the same way, and it was a Nike ad. Probably a global ad that ran in european subways too.
I miss the Coraline ad already. It was one of the few pleasant things about riding the Red Line.