The New York Times transforms entire subway train into immersive ad

The newspaper wants to remind audiences about the range of offerings you can get with a subscription, starting with readers in its birthplace New York.

16 August 2023

Anyone catching the S train between Times Square and Grand Central this summer will be able to spot a fun new campaign from The New York Times on route. While some brands might take over one part of the subway to push a specific release, The New York Times has commandeered the whole shuttle train – inside and out – to advertise the breadth of a Times subscription, from Games and Cooking to News.

The newspaper is calling it an interactive experience. On the train’s exterior, each shuttle car has been split into a different product in the Times subscription. Commuters entering the shuttle train will then find the interior transformed too, with different “surprises” in each car, says a release.

For example, in Games, subway riders can see how many words they can come up with in the 90 seconds it takes to ride the subway, while Cooking offers travellers free access to a selection of recipes. Other sections are more visually ambitious; The Times has recreated the New York Giants locker room for The Athletic car.


Copyright © The New York Times, 2023

The local nature of the campaign is crucial for the newspaper. “New York is our home base and in our name, making The Times an integral part of this great city,” says Amy Weisenbach, senior vice president and head of marketing. “As a result, New Yorkers have a lot of pride and stake in our journalism, but they don’t always know everything about us. We’re looking to change that by bringing New Yorkers beyond the front page they think they know and putting our full suite of products on display. By showing up within the subway, we hope to surprise subscribers, readers, home cooks, solvers and sports fanatics and give them a new way to use The Times for their commute and in their everyday lives.”

The campaign will run on the S train from Grand Central to Times Square – which is named after The Times, who knew? – until 10 September. A series of one-day-only pop-ups will also run at Grand Central, where riders can share subway memories and kick back with a game of Wordle.

GalleryCopyright © The New York Times, 2023

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Copyright © The New York Times, 2023

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Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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