It is illegal to eat or drink on the Washington Metro. But that hasn’t stopped WMATA from allowing an advertisement that blatantly advocates breaking the law. Below is a Green Mountain Coffee advertisement currently found on the lower level of Rosslyn Station.
It is often said the D.C. Metro has less advertising than similar systems. This is partially a result of the system’s Brutalist aesthetic, but also partially the result of some missed opportunities. One must only look as far as the Red-line advertisement for Coraline, a comparatively ancient movie, still playing on Metro’s lighted tunnel ads. Someone is asleep at the wheel when it comes to producing new revenue opportunities.
So in the face of a relatively ad-lite subway system, should any and all advertising revenue opportunities be considered? Not quite. Considering this coffee company is encouraging riders to drink on Metro, which is again, illegal, rather than consume coffee before or afterward, I think WMATA is showing some desperation for ad bucks.
For whoever approved this ad, there was an easy solution that would have allowed a near identical ad to run. First, capitalize “metro.” Second, instead of “the only fuel I need on the metro” change the wording to “for the Metro” or “before the Metro.” That’s all that has to be done and — voila — you are no longer encouraging law-breaking anarchy.
New York’s subway is great, but is anyone really pumped about smelling their neighbor’s pungent onion-based dish while they commute? No. And for the most part, D.C. doesn’t have that problem. So Washingtonians likely aren’t going to be excited to have coffee spilled on their seats as a result of the subsequent land rush on Green Mountain Coffee. So Metro, let’s pay a little attention to what advertisements get approved — anything short of that would be criminal.