Talk Back to NYC Subway Ads


I just sent the following email to Adbusters. I’m hoping that they’re print it in the next issue and blast my idea, but in case they don’t, I’ll post it here too.

Dear Adbusters team,

I ride the New York City subway every day and I can’t help but feel assaulted by the advertising. I often think of responses to the ads. There’s a New York Lottery ad that personifies Luck as a gaggle of white men in suits with over-sized heads and slogans like “Hold your applause.” I stuck a label on the ad that said “Luck is not a white man with a big head.” But will my own personal culture jam have an impact? Can you help me scale it up? NYC needs more stickers – like, “This ad perpetuates gender stereotypes,” and “This kind of wealth requires the poverty of others,” – and more people to stick them. Can you share the idea? We can no longer be passive consumers of propaganda. It’s time to talk back.

I shared this idea with friends not long ago, and people seemed into it. So I started it today with my sticker on those lottery ads. (They drive me nuts… ) Won’t you join me? We pay more for that subway system than the advertisers do, with our taxes and fares. So I think it’s only right that if we have to listen to those guys on Madison Avenue all day long, 3500 times a day, they should listen to us too. Grab a name tag, a folder label, a post-it note, or a flyer with a blank side and some scotch tape, and tell them what you think of their heteronormative, sexist, racist, classist bullshit.

Occupy your public space. Add your voice. Talk back.

And send me pictures.




*This post has been edited since its original draft because I realized that I used a brand name as if it were just an adjective. That’s how intense the programming is. But it’s clear tape, soda, tissues, and a copy machine. Those other words are tools of wealth appropriation. That’s why they get a nickel every time you say it, not you.


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s