For first time users of the subway, the experience can be quite stressful. There’s a lot of unknowns and questions that can easily pile up in one’s head. Am I going the right way, will I get off at the right stop, am I even going in the right direction? And then there’s the turnstile. As easy as it is to buy a ticket that entire experience can be unpleasant. The ticket machine isn’t hard to use but I’ve watched plenty of people fight with those machines.
The MTA has now added another level of complexity and confusion by allowing advertising on the actual turnstile. In theory it’s not a awful idea to try to raise money selling the space. However H&M kind of pushed the boundaries in a bad way. A quick glance made me think of warning because of the red and the $5 number as price. For a moment it even confused me. I was like what “I now have to pay five bucks to use the subway?!?” It wasn’t until I took a closer look that I realized it was an ad. But how many people that don’t speak english or know what H&M is will be completely confused. Is the subway $2 or $5? It’s a really poor implementation and while I’m not surprised there aren’t any guidelines for this type of advertising perhaps there should be. A good place to start would be that the advertising shouldn’t suggest that it’s actually more money to ride the subway (no pricing) nor feel like a harzard (red color).