Has anyone else noticed reliability problems with Washingtonpost.com lately? I was all set to link to their story about the ad-wrapped Metro cars and provide pithy commentary, but despite it’s placement as the featured photo on the front page, the story itself is (as of this writing) completely missing from the site. You can’t find it with a search, you can’t click on the link, the photo link doesn’t lead to it… This has happened at least once a day for the last week- I’ve tried to read a WaPo story online, and been thwarted by whatever gremlin is stealing it from their content management system.
The short version of the story is this: Cash-strapped Metro is going to start accepting more forms of advertising- TV monitors in the trains that will show headlines, weather, and ads; tunnel ads where the panels will be sequentially placed to be viewable as you pass through, and of course, ad wrappers on the outsides of the cars. The first one is an ad for McDonald’s Fruit and Walnut Salad.
This has met with tempest-in-a-teapot controversy.
People tired of seeing ads plastered on everything: “Wah! Ads on metro cars! It’s tiresome! Wah!”
Metro riders: “Hey, if the extra money gets me to work faster and keeps fares down… whatever it takes.”
Obligatory smartass interviewed for comic relief: “They’re advertising food on a system where you’re not allowed to eat.”
I suppose I fall into the second camp- Although Metro has shown an unusual ability to mismanage taxpayer money, if they want to mismanage private funds and maybe actually do some good with it in the meantime, more power to ‘em.
I too tire of being treated as a pair of eyeballs to stick ads in front of, but look… we already live in an area where billboards are mostly forbidden. The DC area is already full of buildings that either by choice or by ordinance can’t or won’t change their facades to include obnoxious signs and lights, so compared to other cities, we’re actually getting off pretty easy on the whole advertising thing. And as any blogger will tell you, sometimes advertising is the best way to break even on your product.
So your choices are either to fund Metro better, pay higher fares, or put up with a great big set of Golden Arches over the sliding doors. Give me the Golden Arches any day.
This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs