Replace NYC Subway Ads with Fine Art-Focused App

NO AD uses augmented reality to makeover NYC underground marketing

On an average weekday, 5.5 million people travel on New York’s subway system; it is the seventh-busiest underground transit system globally and by far the biggest in North America.

During their rides between New York’s 468 subway stations, commuters form a lucrative, often captive audience, whom advertisers hope to influence with platform signage, subway car wraps and turnstile inserts.

Do the advertisements work? The CBS Outdoor Marketing Team, which owns New York’s subway advertising space, likes to think so. But the reality is that many riders disregard the ads peppered throughout their commute.

Subway riders’ general ambivalence—if not slight annoyance—towards commercial transit advertising may be solved by Re+Public, whose team has launched the NO AD App to replace ads with artwork in realtime through your mobile device.

NO AD works like this: After downloading and opening the app, users point their smartphone or tablet at a targeted advertisement. NO AD uses augmented reality technology to identify the subway advertisement and replace it with an artist’s work.

NO AD’s repository of artwork is curated by app cofounder and former street artist Jordan Seiler of PublicAdCampaign, who has recruited over 50 artists to submit their work for the project. Inserted art highlights include computer error messages by Jilly Ballistic, macabre portraits by Vermibus and provocative collages by anonymous group, Posterboy.

Currently, NO AD can recognize and replace over 100 subway advertisements. As NO AD grows its art arsenal, Seiler hopes to find additional curators, galleries, and museums to contribute and organize to the digital collection.

NO AD App is available for iOS and Android.

Demo it on your computer here.