Photo of the Day: The Pelham-bound Swatch Train

By · Published in 2011

For the next eight weeks, East Side riders can catch the Swatch-wrapped 6 train. (Photo courtesy of New York City Transit)

Take a look at this 6 train. It’s the latest and greatest from the MTA’s advertising department. For the next eight weeks, as part of the authority’s attempts to draw in more advertising revenue, this 6 train will be fully wrapped in Swatch ads. On the heels of last year’s Target campaign, this is the second such fully-wrapped train.

“The MTA earns more than $100 million per year from sales of advertising space, mostly through traditional print media, but we continue to map out new ways to maximize the value of our physical assets,” MTA Chairman Jay Walder said in a statement. “One way we are doing that is by creating more dynamic advertising opportunities.”

To draw in more money, the MTA is also looking into 3D images and in-tunnel advertising. All of this advertising is a balm for hurt minds indeed.

Categories : Subway Advertising

36 Responses to “Photo of the Day: The Pelham-bound Swatch Train”

  1. ferryboi says:

    Now if they can use some of that money to fix the obviously broken electronic sign. Is that the 6 train or the 8 train? You and I know it’s the 6, but a newcomer/tourist wouldn’t be so sure.

  2. Jerrold says:

    Also, where was that picture taken?
    In the original City Hall station?

    It does not LOOK like the original City Hall station, but the little sign says City Hall.
    And an IRT train could not be at the City Hall BMT station.

    • ferryboi says:

      It’s clearly the current City Hall station on the Lex Ave line. What’s so hard to figure?

      • Jerrold says:

        I thought that that station was called just “Brooklyn Bridge”.
        Did they add “City Hall” to the name?

        Coming to think of it, if they did, it was a good idea.

        • ferryboi says:

          It was renamed “Bklyn Bridge-City Hall” about 25 years ago when the station was renovated. Before that it was “Bklyn Bridge-Worth St” after the Worth St station was closed when the current station was expanded to handle 10-car trains in the late ’50s. Some columns have “Bklyn Bridge” signs on them while other columns have “City Hall” signs posted.

    • Big John says:

      Haven’t been down there in a while — but the Brooklyn Bridge station can
      also be called City Hall — maybe they redid the signs since Mayor Mike
      rides the trains so often to pretend he’s a man of the people

  3. pea-jay says:

    oh look, more clocks (albeit in image form) in MTA’s system with the wrong time on them.

    Seriously though, anything that is different to look at (advertising most certainly counts) and ads revenue is fine with me.

  4. Scott E says:

    Does anyone else see the irony of the word “SWISS” sitting below the American flag?

  5. Princelex says:

    I love it! I rode on that train going to work yesterday morning and the colors are great and work on that 6 train. I hope the MTA does this to more trains in the system as the year continues on and they need to wrap the buses too. They’ll make even more money that way, especially if it brings in more revenue to the system and keeps th fares down a bit and keeps service in place.

    • Cathy D says:

      I just love the swatch train….somehow it gives you a lift in the morning to see all the bright colors….the MTA should continue to wrap the trains and also the buses this way they can stop constantly harassing us for more money…unfortunately, the MTA would probably waste the proceeds as they usually do….

  6. SEAN says:

    Some ideas for other wraps…
    1. Macy’s obvious
    2. Trump after all his ego is as large as the entire system
    3. Wal-mart
    4. pick a bank
    5 Sacks Fith Avenue
    6. Lord & Taylor
    7. pick any celeberty
    8. most importently Subway!

    Any other ideas that could work?

    • David in NY says:

      Sean, you may have hit on something.
      Since Wal-mart is so desperate to open stores in NYC so they can sell their stuff to every single American, why not open Wal-mart stores in subway stations? Think of the rent the MTA could collect and subway riders won’t ever have to go up on the street.
      We can all be Wal-mart strap-hangers……

      • Alex C says:

        Please, not Wal-Mart. Can we please not bring in that scourge into NYC in any way? Macy’s and the others are great ideas though.

  7. AManda says:

    We loved the Times Square shuttle that was wrapped inside and out with a tropical jungle theme. I think it was advertising that tv show about doctors in the jungle.

  8. Kid Twist says:

    Yes. It’s a brilliant idea to use a subway train to advertise your timepieces. Because the subways in New York run like clockwork.

  9. Al D says:

    This is ridiculous, honestly. Why does it take so much time just to wrap another train? If MTA is really so cash starved, then wrap every darned subway car all the time and generate real revenue. And do it right now. This is such a non-big deal that they are still ‘experimenting’ after all the previous ‘successful’ (I would guess) ad placements.

    Remember their stupid idea of covering the windows in wrap instead of the car bodies?

    They’re not that cash hungry after all…

    • Christopher says:

      Well you have to buyers first. And you want to set the price point high enough that you don’t have the low end plastic surgery ads that grace the inside of trains. It’s also not a cheap proposition. There’s an art to pricing media correctly for the value … and I think the MTA is doing a pretty good job of it. When you start seeing Dr. Z train wraps — then it’s time to panic.

  10. R. Graham says:

    The thing I would like to know is if the MTA is operating the train wrap advertising as a test phase to see if they can do it on a widespread basis in the future?

    If so, please MTA knock it off. You’ve tried it once on the 6 with the Target ads and you are obviously advertising on the Lexington Avenue line with the external banners posted to some trains of Monroe College. It’s time to cash in and plenty of companies would line up to have their shot. It’s long past time to start doubling the revenue in advertising.

    Even can use some ads.

    • Christopher says:

      Um, I don’t think there’s a much advertising dollars sitting on the table as people seem to think. Having worked in advertising … CEOs and CMOs want target and metrics. And they want to know the types of income of the passengers on the line. And where they work… So Lex ave going through some of the most expensive zip codes in the country … is a good sell. That being said, this category — out of doors — is tough. And spending is still way down.

      • Donald says:

        Advertisers don’t get to pick which lines their ads will appear on. Trains can run on any line that is based from their yard. The R143 that is wrapped in ads could very well be on the 2 line next week.

    • This isn’t a pilot program. It’s the market. If the MTA had advertisers lining up out the door who were interested in full-car train wraps, you’d see more of them. That they don’t just speaks volumes as to the difficulty of attracting this kind of money.

      • Al D says:

        Perhaps they should then discount the rates in order to encourage more advertising. So while the SWATCH train would bring less revenue for example, 2 SWATCH trains would bring in more.

  11. Scott E says:

    I wonder what it takes, in terms of time and effort, to wrap an entire 10-car train (assuming this is being done to all ten cars). One would think they’d have to keep it out-of-service for quite some time in order to do it properly – I can only imagine working around all the cutouts for external speakers, train numbers, American flag decals, and of course windows and doors. If the work isn’t done with precision, there will be creases and peeling decals. Removing the decals and adhesive could be equally challenging.

    If they start mass-wrapping trains, we’ll either see trains out of service more frequently, or such shoddy work filled with wrinkles, bubbles, and blemishes that even Dr. Zizmor couldn’t fix them.

    • ferryboi says:

      Or Doctor Zizmor can buy his own, shrink-wrapped train. Maybe the “Z” for zit train?!

      • Alon Levy says:

        In an interview a few years ago, Zizmor said he barely gets new clientele from the subway nowadays – he keeps advertising because otherwise his clients would think he’s retired.

  12. Alex C says:

    Incidentally the Swatch train has year-old announcements with the V and W trains. It’s one of a few trainsets on the 6 with the old announcements. They made it look pretty and still managed to not update the software.

    • Edward says:

      Well, that would make too much sense. God forbid the MTA thinks about it’s riders. Were just a captive audience to them, and have been since 1968.

  13. Joseph says:

    They put advertising on the turnstiles at South Ferry. If I wasnt always running for the train or ferry I would take a picture.

  14. Bruce says:

    Blech–I hate it! It gives me flashbacks to the days when the trains were covered in grafitti. (I don’t mind as much the ads that are contained within the “stripe” below the window).

  15. Russell says:

    It’s like the 1980’s Graffiti era all over again, except this time it’s “legal.” It’s amazing how easily we accept these fine lines, because quite frankly it doesn’t look all that different.

  16. Jimmy says:

    I really liked the one for Paris or was it for Rome. I saw it on the 42nd St shuttle. It was totally wrapped in it. In and out. Cool I hope I see one.

  17. Brian says:

    There is a value to maintaining a certain civic image and identity–a sense of dignity in the public realm. Wrapping trains undermines that value. We could clutter everything with huge ads: the subway, buses, sanitation trucks, fire trucks and police cars, bridge structures, and other public works. Eventually, the clutter overwhelms good urban design and public space.


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