Sunday, September 16, 2018

An ad on BART

On the way back from Berkeley yesterday, I saw this ad on a BART train.

Many questions came to mind as I stared at it for the duration of the ride:
  • Copy: The copy is surprisingly aggressive. That final "Okay?" makes it sound like something an adult disciplining a child would say and could set the reader on the defensive. Perhaps it could simply stop at, "Keep elevators clean for those who need them." Or, to be more collegial, "Let's keep elevators clean for those who need them."
  • Imagery: The current image tries to make people feel for the elevator by anthropomorphizing it with a sad smiley face. Given that the copy prods the reader to think of those in need, might it be more effective to also include images of people (perhaps people in wheelchairs, with injuries, or the elderly) who need to use the elevator? Incidentally, the PRIORITY SEATING sign right below accidentally helps this cause.
  • Placement: Is the BART train car an effective place for this ad? It might be more effective on the doors of the elevators.
  • Information Content: Someone seriously considering doing their business in an elevator is in need of an alternative. This poster could give directions to the nearest public restroom.
  • Goals: I wonder what the goals of this ad are. Is anyone monitoring whether these ads correlate to cleaner elevators? One could see this ad as a simple cry for help or expression of frustration from BART staff. In those terms, this ad is likely a success—it's eye-catching and memorable.
  • Unintended(?) Effects: This is an anti-ad for riding BART elevators. I have never ridden a BART elevator, but now I sure will avoid them. It likely has the same effect on anyone unfamiliar with the BART system or its elevators. In a weird twist, one side effect of this sign might be to warn tourists about the questionable state of the elevators, and thus prevent them from actually using the elevators and potentially encountering an unpleasant sight.

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