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New Ad City

Breaking down the cost of getting our attention.

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Somehow, in the last five years or so, the entire city of New York has become sponsored, product-placed, and wrapped in logos. In a way, it brings back the wild signage of the nineteenth-century metropolis, which might not be an accident, since the effectiveness of the more subtle electronic promotional strategies of the twentieth century are waning. “Advertising agencies are moving more towards outdoor promotions to make up for what’s been lost in the age of TiVo,” says Stephen Freitas of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, Inc. But it’s also just a sign that we’re a boomtown again, with scaffolding everywhere, begging to be plastered (those wheat-pasted posters require city permits and permission of the building owner, but that rule is too often skirted.) “You could be walking down any block and probably see eight to twelve ads. In Times Square, it becomes dozens and dozens,” says Irwin Sheftel of billboard company Van Wagner. “I wouldn’t begin to know how to quantify the density of ads in this city.”

What advertisers pay to catch your wandering eye.
(By the month, unless otherwise noted.)

Starbucks coffee sleeves: estimated 12 to 14 cents each.

Street hawking with megaphones: $36 per hour.

Ads on urinals and on the back of stall doors: $100 to $125.

Twenty-inch-by-sixteen-inch gym-locker-room ads: $125.

Bathroom-door ads: $110.

Sidewalk chalking: $150 to $350 per image per day.

Sidewalk ashtrays: $175 per ad unit (there are three per pylon).

Street-lamp banners: $360 per banner.

Handing out flyers: $390 per day per person.

Buses: $500 for an exterior ad; interior ad spaces are $26 each.

Bus shelters: $1,000 to $5,000 for a standard 69-inch-by-48-inch panel, depending on neighborhood.

Static subway-entrance ads: $3,000.

Spotlight or projection on a building: $4,500 and up per night.

Mobile billboard trucks: $5,000 per 50-hour week.

Wrapped vehicles: $6,500 and up.

Airplanes: $8,500 per flight for skywriting; $1,000 per flight for flying a banner.

Scaffolding broadsides: $9,200 for two to four posters per site in 90 to 120 locations, usually for the two weeks prior to the event being plugged.

Spray-painted faux-graffiti mural: $15,000 and up.

West Side Highway billboard: Around $18,600.

“Tall-wall” vinyl banner on the side of a building: $20,000 to $100,000.

Subway platform: $40,000 to cover 200 stations.

Subway cars: $44,000 to cover 25 percent of a train’s interior ad spaces.

Taxis: Around $45,000 for continuously updating electronic ads on 100 taxis for fifteen minutes per hour (GPS feature targets ads for neighborhoods; new messages can be uploaded remotely).

Kodak’s 1,500-square-foot Times Square moving-images display: $175,000.

Digital subway-entrance ads: $274,000 for six ten-second spots every minute on each of the city’s 80 digital displays.

Marathon naming rights: ING has a three-year, $6 million deal.

Naming rights to the new Jets-Giants stadium: at least a $12 million onetime cost.


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