As of this Sunday, New Yorkers will see ads on the fronts of their MetroCards as well as the backs. The change will be an extra way for the MTA to raise funds for the subway system without having to print large posters or find additional ad real estate on trains. Retailer Gap was the first to buy the new ad space, which will feature the slogan “Be Bright NYC”. The cards with Gap’s new campaign will be sold at 10 stations in the Manhattan area.

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“Opening up the front of MetroCards to advertising gives the MTA a new source of revenue,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota. “We will monitor public acceptance of ads going forward to ensure that it doesn’t interfere with use of the transit system. There is no reason why the MTA shouldn’t put every resource it can toward helping its fragile finances.” Ads have appeared on the reverse sides of the cards since 1995, but in July the MTA announced that they would begin to sell space on the fronts as well.

The first to take advantage of MTA‘s offer was the Gap, whose slogan “Be Bright NYC” encourages card holders to visit their newly remodeled flagship store on 34th Street and Broadway starting on October 10, 2012. Customers who show their MetroCards will receive a 20% discount on merchandise through November 18, 2012. Gap bought both the fronts and backs of the cards, making their branding hard to miss. “Because the MTA MetroCard is an iconic element of every New Yorker’s life, it felt like an appropriate vehicle to promote the opening of our newly remodeled flagship store at 34th and Broadway. We’re excited to take part in this historic moment as the first advertiser on the front of the MetroCard.” said Chris Gayton, senior director of media for Gap in North America.

Around 10% of total cards bought through the system in a single month will carry the Gap ads. They will be available for purchase at 10 vending machines in the Manhattan area, selected based on their location in relationship to the Gap flagship store. The next full-face ads will appear in December and January. “Since we first announced that we would accept branded MetroCards, our phones have been ringing non-stop with inquires,” said Paul J. Fleuranges, the MTA‘s Senior Director of Corporate and Internal Communications.

+ New York Metropolitan Transit Authority

Via Newsday New York