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  • Writer's pictureAlberto Gastelum

Ads of New York City Project

April 9th, 2022

By: A.J. Gastélum

The average consumer is estimated to see between 4000-10,000 ads each day. In New York City, advertising is everywhere, from people selling things in the park, to billboards across buildings.

I became fascinated with noticing these ads following a class assignment where we looked for an ad we found interesting, and analyzed it in marketing terms. I thought that this would have been super interesting to my past self in my earlier years at Marketing Society, and so I hope to give a little bit of exposure to the terminology and thought processes that are such an interesting part of marketing.

This project has made me notice more details about the many ads I see in the city on a daily basis.

MTA: Subway Ridership

Location: Canal Street Subway Station

I liked the placement of this notice, even though it wasn’t a traditional “ad.” It is a notice on subway routes, but as an official MTA notice it still has marketing elements. This ad very much demonstrates knowing your target audience. It was placed in Chinatown, where a higher percentage of people are more likely to understand it. The use of Mandarin, alongside nearby English translations showed how the location of the ad and the knowledge of the target demographic made it more effective.


Rite Aid

Location: Outside Rite Aid

This ad captured my attention because it seemed redundant at first. Why would Rite Aid place an ad directly over their massive store logo? But the motto “Where alternative remedies meet traditional medicine” caught my eye. It had an appeal to a demographic that might be hesitant to try “alternative remedies” but be comforted by the pharmacy’s claimed combination of “traditional medicine”. It was even an effective appeal to people who do not know what a Rite Aid is, clearly showing the brand’s purpose and mission.



Location: Outside of Moynihan Train Hall

Like many ads in NYC, the placement is one of the most interesting aspects of this ad. This advertisement for FlixBus is placed next to their bus lot outside of one of the most heavily trafficked commuter zones in the city. People are coming in from many locations by train and bus, and FlixBus offers a memorable alternative. They appeal to the perceptual process by using stimulus factors of bright green color and quickly readable text.


Florence + the Machine

Location: Madison Square Garden

This ad is for the band Florence + The Machine, who will be playing at the Garden soon. I have never heard of the band before, but one of the ways it affected me was by starting the process of entering my long term memory. Most modern estimates say that you need to see an ad 7 times to even remember it. But seeing as I pass this spot on my daily commute, it is entirely possible that I unintentionally remember the name of this band, and am more susceptible to future advertisements.


Apple Macro Photography

Location: 8th Avenue

This advertisement is very easily recognizable as an Apple advertisement. The white borders and text that Apple uses with their products makes it so that many of their ads around the city are easily distinguishable from the thousands we see each day. I was drawn in by the strange picture, and was surprised by the fact that it was simply a piece of bread. The ad tries to associate the idea of camera prowess with Apple’s latest and greatest phone. This persistent “shot on iPhone” advertising is one that has been used by phone companies across the world, and Apple has consistently pushed the narrative that their cameras are capable of the best shots.


Yankees Advertisement

Location: 8th Avenue

This advertisement is obviously intended to promote the Yankees baseball team and their upcoming games. I noticed it because of the multiple times NYU has provided tickets to their games. Whether it is a paid partnership or not, NYU constantly sending students to the Yankees games has unintentionally made me more interested in the New York Yankees organization. This partnership persuaded me into being more affected by future ads like this one.


ViX Streaming

Location: Midtown, Manhattan

I liked this ad because it is another clear example of their target audience. Whoever the specific groups they are targeting, they are all Spanish speaking. Upon further research, ViX is a Univision brand extension into Spanish-language streaming. It was placed on a LinkNYC tower, and likely on multiple locations. While I am probably not the target audience for this ad, I remembered it because of how relevant it was in being placed where thousands of people walk every week.


Barefoot Wine

Location: K Town Manhattan

I wanted to feature one of these types of ads, which are popular in the NYC midtown-times square area. They feature bold text on plain backgrounds with thought provoking but nonsensical quotes. I think that this ad in particular appeals to the curiosity that consumers have in trying to find out why this quote could be associated with Barefoot Wine. My first thought would be to look up their name and website, which made the ad fairly effective in driving further brand inspection from me as a consumer.


Netflix: Bridgerton

Location: Spring Street Subway Station

This ad was extremely effective on me as a consumer. I had never cared much about Bridgertons first season, but many of my peers had talked to me about how much they enjoyed the recent second season. This word of mouth made me more interested in this ad on the subway, which I have seen almost a dozen times in different stations at this point. It made me curious about what the show is about, why people love it, why the corgi is so important to the story. The ad helped to convince me the show was worth watching.


Microsoft Dual Ads

Location: Times Square

There are two ads in this image that I wanted to draw attention to: the Microsoft Ad at the top, and the Halo ad in the bottom right. I was waiting for these ads to cycle back around, because I was so fascinated by the fact that they were from the same parent company. The Microsoft ad at the top seems professional and boring, with a link and logo on a basic background. But the Halo ad at the bottom seems interesting and fascinating, appealing to video game lovers and Halo fans. This is a perfect example of how companies are marketing sub brands within themselves, and how independent those ads can be from each other.


Burger King

Location: Outside Port Authority Bus Terminal

Discount ads can be a way of attracting target markets that might not originally buy from you. This Burger King Store is placed on a busy walkway, 42nd Street, next to numerous construction sites and office buildings. People are coming in from New Jersey everyday, and coming to their jobs in the city. This influx of local workers walking past this sign makes people think twice about a location that they might have never considered for their lunch break.


Hulu: Atlanta Ad

Location: Times Square Station

I had never heard of the show Atlanta until I began seeing references and promotions on Instagram and TikTok. When this ad was put up in my local bus station, it caught my eye because I had been primed to be interested in it. The show’s presence of high profile actors like Donald Glover and LaKeith Stanfield made me interested in the show, despite having no knowledge of what it actually is about. The eye-catching design was an appeal to my sensory perceptions, making me look twice at this ad, and further driving along my interest in watching the show.


AJ Gastélum is one of the Co-Content Directors this semester. He is a sophomore at NYU Stern studying Marketing with a minor in Studio Art. Check out his other articles on the blog!

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