NEWS RELEASE
For More Information Contact: Jonathan Rowe and Gary Ruskin (202) 588-7746
For Immediate Release: May 16th, 2006

Commercial Alert Pans Plan to Put Ads on NYC Subway Tunnel Walls

Commercial Alert sent a letter today to Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Peter Kalikow, questioning its plans to place ads on the walls of subway tunnels.  The letter follows.

Dear Mr. Kalikow:

There has been much bad news of late about the intrusions of government into our lives.

From Washington, we learned that government snoops have been collecting data on the telephone calls of ordinary Americans.  In New York, we learned that officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are thinking of selling the walls of subway tunnels to project corporate messages at people as they ride.

In one case the government is tracking our associations.  In the other it is expanding the means to saturate our mental environment and get directly into our minds.  Both are closer to Soviet-style government than to the kind Jefferson envisioned.

It might be one thing if the tunnel walls would be available to all of us, for civic causes as well as corporate ones.  But that won’t be the case.  Corporations would get to buy the space for their own purposes.  Our role would be to submit and keep quiet.

What of students who try to study on the subways?  Does the MTA really want to create another distraction and make things harder for them?

Most riders probably won’t be thrilled about this new form of ad creep.  They are up to their gills in ads already. Two years ago, Yankelovich Partners found that 65% of Americans “feel constantly bombarded with too much marketing and advertising,” and 65% “think there should be more limits and regulations on marketing and advertising.”

The subways do need revenue, so as former New Yorkers, we have a suggestion.  Why doesn’t the MTA sell ad space on the suits of the MTA board members, from the chairman on down?  That way, when they move about town, they’ll be raising money for the trains – in a way that leaves the riders alone.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Rowe, issues director
Gary Ruskin, executive director

←------letter ends here-------→

Commercial Alert is a nonprofit organization that opposes commercialism.  Our mission is to keep the commercial culture within its proper sphere, and to prevent it from exploiting children and subverting the higher values of family, community, environmental integrity and democracy. For more information, see our website at: http://www.commercialalert.org.

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NEWS RELEASE
For More Information Contact: Jonathan Rowe and Gary Ruskin (202) 588-7746
For Immediate Release: May 16th, 2006

Commercial Alert Pans Plan to Put Ads on NYC Subway Tunnel Walls

Commercial Alert sent a letter today to Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Peter Kalikow, questioning its plans to place ads on the walls of subway tunnels.  The letter follows.

Dear Mr. Kalikow:

There has been much bad news of late about the intrusions of government into our lives.

From Washington, we learned that government snoops have been collecting data on the telephone calls of ordinary Americans.  In New York, we learned that officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are thinking of selling the walls of subway tunnels to project corporate messages at people as they ride.

In one case the government is tracking our associations.  In the other it is expanding the means to saturate our mental environment and get directly into our minds.  Both are closer to Soviet-style government than to the kind Jefferson envisioned.

It might be one thing if the tunnel walls would be available to all of us, for civic causes as well as corporate ones.  But that won’t be the case.  Corporations would get to buy the space for their own purposes.  Our role would be to submit and keep quiet.

What of students who try to study on the subways?  Does the MTA really want to create another distraction and make things harder for them?

Most riders probably won’t be thrilled about this new form of ad creep.  They are up to their gills in ads already. Two years ago, Yankelovich Partners found that 65% of Americans “feel constantly bombarded with too much marketing and advertising,” and 65% “think there should be more limits and regulations on marketing and advertising.”

The subways do need revenue, so as former New Yorkers, we have a suggestion.  Why doesn’t the MTA sell ad space on the suits of the MTA board members, from the chairman on down?  That way, when they move about town, they’ll be raising money for the trains – in a way that leaves the riders alone.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Rowe, issues director
Gary Ruskin, executive director

←------letter ends here-------→

Commercial Alert is a nonprofit organization that opposes commercialism.  Our mission is to keep the commercial culture within its proper sphere, and to prevent it from exploiting children and subverting the higher values of family, community, environmental integrity and democracy. For more information, see our website at: http://www.commercialalert.org.

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