MTA Continues Offering MetroCard Advertising

Don't be surprised if you get a MetroCard® swathed in green this holiday season. It means your MetroCard carries one of the second crop of advertisements to appear under the MTA's new effort to raise revenue by selling ad space on MetroCards.

There are two new ad campaigns appearing on MetroCards, and both use the color green to make their pitch. One campaign, by Audible.com, appears on one million MetroCards being distributed at busy stations in Manhattan, and features on the front and rear of the cards. The other campaign, for SimpleMobile.com, is appearing on the rear of 500,000 MetroCards.

“We're very pleased by the continuing high level of interest that advertisers are showing toward the MetroCard as a medium for promotions,” said Paul J. Fleuranges, MTA's Director of Corporate and Internal Communications. “This confirms that our decision to re-launch the MetroCard advertising program this year was the right move.”

The Audible MetroCard ad promotes Audible's digital media service, which allows you to download professionally narrated audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment for listening anytime, anywhere, including while riding with the MTA. The ad offers MetroCard holders a free download to try Audible, the world's largest seller and producer of audiobooks. It is the second campaign to appear on the front of a MetroCard. (The first, for Gap, was distributed in October.)

“MetroCard advertising is an exciting part of our “New York Surround” campaign that also includes advertising in subway train cars, newsstands, airport lounges, and on billboards and local cable television,” said Barrie Markowitz, Audible VP Marketing. “Just like everyone else, New Yorkers want more time to enjoy books, and Audible makes this possible for anyone who has a smartphone.”

The Simple Mobile ad campaign promotes a $40 unlimited nationwide talk, text and data plan. It is being distributed at subway stations throughout all four boroughs served by the subway. It is the second ad campaign to appear on the rear of MetroCards since the MTA re-launched its MetroCard advertising platform earlier this year. (The first, for HealthPlus, was distributed in October.)

Front of MetroCard bearing Audible.com advertisement.Rear of MetroCard bearing Audible.com advertisement.
Left: Front of MetroCard bearing Audible.com advertisement. Right: Rear of MetroCard bearing Audible.com advertisement.

Rear of MetroCard bearing Simple Mobile advertisement.
Rear of MetroCard bearing Simple Mobile advertisement.

Advertisements have appeared on the rear face of MetroCards since 1995; but in July, the MTA announced that it would itself begin selling commercial advertising space on MetroCards rather than hiring an intermediary, and that it would offer space on the fronts of MetroCards for the first time.

At MetroCard vending machines, cards are added to an existing supply of standard MetroCards, so there is no guarantee that purchasing a fare will result in the acquisition of a card featuring a particular design or advertisement.

MetroCards bearing the Audible.com ad are being distributed from vending machines at these stations:

  • 14 St-Union Square 4 Subway5 Subway6 SubwayL Subway
  • 34 St 1 Subway2 Subway3 Subway
  • 34th St-Herald Square B SubwayD SubwayF SubwayM SubwayN SubwayQ SubwayR Subway
  • 42 St-Times Square N SubwayQ SubwayR SubwayS Subway1 Subway2 Subway3 Subway7 Subway
  • 59 St 4 Subway5 Subway6 Subway / Lexington Av N SubwayQ SubwayR Subway
  • 59 St-Columbus Circle A SubwayB SubwayC SubwayD Subway1 Subway
  • 72 St 1 Subway2 Subway3 Subway
  • 86 St 4 Subway5 Subway6 Subway
  • 96 St 1 Subway2 Subway3 Subway
  • Grand Central-42 St 4 Subway5 Subway6 Subway7 SubwayS Subway

MetroCards bearing the Simple Mobile ad are being distributed from vending machines at these stations:

  • 3 Av-149 St 2 Subway3 Subway2 Subway5 Subway
  • 34 St-Penn Station A SubwayC SubwayE Subway
  • 74 St-Broadway 7 Subway / Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Av E SubwayF SubwayM SubwayR Subway
  • 169 St F Subway
  • 181 St 1 Subway
  • Delancey St F / Essex St J SubwayM SubwayZ Subway
  • Flushing-Main St 7 Subway
  • Fordham Rd 4 Subway
  • Sheepshead Bay B SubwayQ Subway

This advertising effort is the latest in a series of initiatives undertaken by the MTA to ensure it is receiving the maximum value it can from selling advertising space. Other efforts include expanding advertising to the exteriors of trains, full interior and exterior subway train advertising wraps, digital advertisements inside the subway system, digital moving images on subway station sidewalk entrances, and more.

The MTA does not disclose the amounts paid for specific ad campaigns. Advertisers can put their ads on the backs of MetroCards for 18¢ to 51¢ per card, depending on the quantity of cards purchased. That works out to $25,500 to $450,000. The minimum print run of 1 million cards is required to advertise on the fronts of MetroCards and associated rates range between 25¢ and 30¢ per card.

The MTA produces 9 million MetroCards every month.