DOOH Media Company Using Loopy Recipe Ideas On Subway To Drive Ad Impressions

April 18, 2023 by Dave Haynes

Photo credit: Hell Gate

An NYC-focused news site called Hell Gate has a post up that gets into how the out of home media company Outfront is using purposefully bizarre quick-form recipe videos on MTA subway screens to attract attention.

Subway riders getting around that city might look up at one of the screens in the passenger cars or stations and see suggestions for how to concoct things like a brieghetti pie that somehow puts pasta together with a wheel of soft French cheese.

“If you’ve taken the subway recently, you may have noticed there’s a new food trend in town: clickbait cuisine,” notes writer  Willa Glickman. “Recipe videos for “brieghetti pie,” an engorged egg-in-a-hole “baked brunch boat,” and an omelet cooked in a plastic bag are just some of the offerings being beamed out to the MTA’s millions of daily subway riders on nearly 10,000 digital advertising screens throughout the system.”

“The food videos are all done in the top down, quick-cut style of most shareable social media content,” the post continues. “They give the appearance of being quick and easy, often involving transforming pre-made items (pouring French toast batter onto a sheet pan of store-bought donuts) but are sometimes casually labor intensive (making tiny cowboy hats out of chocolate-dipped marshmallows and potato chips). There is something just off-putting enough about most of them to warrant a second look. Wait, peanut butter, chocolate, and marshmallows rolled up in a tortilla? And then grilled?”

Outfront has 100s of subway cars equipped with what it calls Subway Livecards – digital screens on available subway car wall space and in the ribbons over the windows.

The content comes from an LA company – First Media – that is in the business of attracting attention and then driving action. That would be clicks online, but for out of home, it would be more about attention.

This makes sense to me – extending the idea of viral videos to an environment that has people somewhat captive and bored, with time on their hands as they wait for trains and ride on them. Legitimate recipes would undoubtedly get some attention from foodies, but just about anyone would go cross-eyed looking at a suggestion to put brie on top of spaghetti and throw it in the oven.

A WTF? reaction probably gets people looking again and again, and seeing the ad spots that intersperse loopy recipes content.

Older readers here may recall TV spots and magazine ads in the 60s, 70s and 80s from brands like Betty Crocker and Kraft that were similarly weird, though I sense they were presented as genuine meal ideas. How about a Ham and Bananas Hollandaise?

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