Every ad in Times Square
[Update: All the photos are now available in larger sizes on flickr.]
Sometimes I get dangerous thoughts in my head, like “I wonder what it would look like to see every ad in Times Square all on one page.” So when I knew I’d be passing through Times Square this weekend, I made sure I had my camera. For the purposes of this nearly purposeless project, I considered storefront signs the same as ads if they were flashy and glitzy like Times Square ads tend to be.
I’m sure I missed a few, and there may be some I got more than once. I do know that some appear to be duplicates, but are actually similar billboards in different spots. Also, if an ad took up more than one billboard, I usually shot each billboard separately, unless it was a wraparound billboard on a corner, in which case I tried to get it in one shot.
So without further ado, here is every ad in Times Square. More or less.
Right now, you’re probably thinking one of two things. Either you’re thinking, “Does that ad really say that there’s a musical version of Legally Blonde coming to Broadway?” or you’re thinking, “Someone has too much time on his hands.” Well, I can tell you, it took about 20 minutes to take the photos, and about 2 or 3 hours to crop the images while I was listening to the pundits on Sunday morning TV. It wasn’t as bad as I feared.
And yes, there is a Legally Blonde musical coming to Broadway. I don’t know what they’re thinking, either.
Wow, a very nice idea and a very impressive gallery!
Posted by: Stefan | January 22, 2007 6:08 AM
Even though the composers are friends, and we’ve been hearing about it for like two years now, I don’t know what “they” were thinking to produce a “Legally Blonde” musical, either.
But they are freakin’ geniuses, [who also dod “Batboy: The Musical,”] so it just might work.
Awesome photoshoot, btw
Posted by: greg.org | January 22, 2007 8:41 AM
Unless there are two of several ads, you have a few dupes in a row - around the LG and Retirement Red Zone…
This is a GREAT photoshoot here. I kept assuming this was going to end, and then realized I had to keep scrolling down…and down…and down….
Posted by: greebs | January 22, 2007 10:10 AM
You’re right, Greebs. I have the ads grouped together 12-per-jpeg, and I accidentally posted one of the jpegs twice, and left out the one with Mr. Peanut. Fixed now. -David
Posted by: David | January 22, 2007 11:10 AM
Wow and thanks. Been to Times Sq. exactly once. I just hyperlinked from SF/SJ/Bay Area and boy is my scroll-wheel finger tired.
Posted by: idogcow | January 22, 2007 1:30 PM
I’ve never even heard of helf the stuff that’s mentioned there. Seems like a lot of companies are spending a lot of money on advertising at Times Square without having much impact on potential consumers.
Posted by: Stijn | January 22, 2007 2:42 PM
wow, it looks just like f*cking myspace
Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 2:58 PM
Posted by: Heidi | January 22, 2007 5:24 PM
And this is where I work. Every day. It hurts. Thanks for putting this together.
Posted by: jaime | January 22, 2007 5:57 PM
Making me glad, yet again and for one more reason, that I don’t have to be in NYC.
Posted by: Jetpacks | January 22, 2007 6:09 PM
Wow, I posted a little bit same concept of post around 8months ago. I feel great because we have something in common.
Anyway, thank you for good pictures.
Posted by: outsider | January 22, 2007 6:28 PM
Posted by: Amy | January 22, 2007 6:32 PM
This could turn into an interesting project, my thought right now though is that it loses a lot of its impact set up so small in your blog-space.
It would be really great if the images were much larger and all lumped together on their own page… I think this would get the viewer closer to the same feeling one gets when physically in times sq… more overwhelming.
Posted by: stella | January 22, 2007 6:32 PM
Nice but provide a bigger image of the main photo of times square - also with photoshop + the first pic - you can create every ad show in the pic, and use the free transform to recreate the images you created.
Posted by: Maverick | January 22, 2007 6:38 PM
The best part is, that of all the times I’ve been to Times Square, I’ve never been influenced by any of those ads whatsoever, despite the (hundreds of) millions dollars spent on them.
Posted by: David | January 22, 2007 7:32 PM
This is great. Someone should start a dedicated website where someone posts all of these from every single day forever. :)
Posted by: Shane Rounce | January 22, 2007 7:37 PM
Yeah, great, I don’t see enough advertising in my life can you please give me some more…
Posted by: Haggie | January 22, 2007 7:43 PM
David - I wish to complain about all your stomping about Times Square - you know there are people in subway trains beneath you trying to get to work in peace and quiet. Sophina.
Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 7:48 PM
I saw an ad for this; I did not photograph it. But it’s best wierd musical concept I’ve seen. http://www.evildeadthemusical.net/home.php
Posted by: Daniel | January 22, 2007 8:00 PM
I wonder how many Times Square ads would there have been if these pictures were taken 50 years ago.
I bet just as many except, of course, they would have all been billboard, non-electronic ads.
Just sayin’ that corporate excess has been around for a long time, is all.
Posted by: Felicia Rogers | January 22, 2007 8:02 PM
Everyday, Monday through Friday, before sun up to well after sundown, I am sitting in one of those buildings right there on the Square getting massive headaches from all of the damn flickering lights.
You may have been there on Saturday, but I can guarantee at least 2 of those signs were changed today. They are ALWAYS changing the signs!
But that’s the way it is in the Square!
Posted by: Dan | January 22, 2007 8:47 PM
Aren’t some of these like Sephora and Europa actually store fronts?
Posted by: Michelle | January 22, 2007 11:15 PM
Felicia: Plenty of neon in Times Square 50 years ago. I think you had the smoking guy add that really puffed smoke (or steam or something). I think there have been huge adds in times square since the 30s at least. I think Lileks had a page on it, maybe.
Posted by: Wriiight | January 22, 2007 11:22 PM
Aww, that’s cool. Thanks.
Posted by: Alison | January 23, 2007 12:33 AM
Aw, why did you crop?! This is superb, but the full-size images would make an awesome flickr gallery…
Posted by: Elizabeth | January 23, 2007 1:55 AM
Wow. I’ve been living out in the boonies for the past year, don’t have a TV, have a poor internet connection, and listen to public radio, so I’m not as used to being advertised at as many are. Recently visiting some friends in New York, I was amazed at the experience of the surface of the city itself as simply another mass medium in which advertisers buy space. Thanks for posting these, brought back an echo of the disorientation I felt at the time.
Posted by: James | January 23, 2007 2:18 AM
Lovely idea. I think I should do the same here in London. Do the Cromwell Rd, perhaps.
Posted by: simon | January 23, 2007 3:59 AM
It;s amazing that out of all those photos the one that I stopped to look at was the ‘Legally Blonde’ advert and I absolutely was thinking, “Does that say, the musical?”
Posted by: Frank | January 23, 2007 6:21 AM
if one had the time, it would be an interesting project to do the same thing everyday for a year and see what comes out of it-
Posted by: hazel | January 23, 2007 8:57 AM
Super idea. Thanks for sharing.
Posted by: Chris Hoskin | January 23, 2007 9:11 AM
dude, wheres the steaming cup of ramen? thats my favorite ad
Posted by: Gregory | January 23, 2007 9:13 AM
Nice work — can finally show the out-of-towners the bombardment of ads that I walk through.
Posted by: Matt | January 23, 2007 10:05 AM
A few times, I’ve wondered about snapping the ads in T.S.; but never had the fortitude to actually go through with it.
Bravo! An interesting and extremely relevant project.
Posted by: Carlo Blackmore | January 23, 2007 10:31 AM
I’m glad you’re around, because you make me feel a little less dirty.
excellent work, btw.
Posted by: copyranter | January 23, 2007 11:40 AM
The TRU ads, are inacurate, it actually has 3 more advertisements. Its just not Eragon.
Posted by: Frank | January 23, 2007 11:44 AM
I like the idea and work near Time Square. I avoid Time Square like the plague- but what a great idea!! I enjoyed this and was blown away at how long you said it took you to take the photos. Thanks!
Posted by: aaron | January 23, 2007 11:54 AM
Wow. Someday I will be there. But not to see “Legally Blonde”….
Posted by: Juliana Guerra | January 23, 2007 2:08 PM
Haha! Marketing and advertising classes talk about information overload, and media bombardment to the point of which the consumer subconsiously ignores everything they see that is not in their consious focus. This is good for those who live there, but bad for the advertisers who poured blood and sweat, not to mention time and money designing the billboards. But then again, NYC/Times Square is a very hot tourist spot making those countless hours of work worth it to the individuals behind those advertising projects. Oh and bravo for your excellent work in documenting everything!
Posted by: Lee | January 23, 2007 2:12 PM
I used to take the bus to work through Times Sq every morning last year and enjoy the ads on my way. I cannot believe there are so many ads there everyday. It’s really a lot.
It really is a waste of money for the companies putting up those ads. It’s too much and has no impact.
Posted by: Noa | January 23, 2007 2:13 PM
I saw this from Link Dinky and Dude what have we turned into as a human race? Are we so materially driven that this is all we do? Lord have mercy! When it comes to Family Guy and M&M’s there has really go to be something wrong with the friggin’ human race! Talk about lazy!
Posted by: Richard Breese | January 23, 2007 3:25 PM
You should do this every Janurary to show what companies are taking over Times Square and how big brands change their marketing over time.
Posted by: Anon | January 23, 2007 4:01 PM
Your efforts aren’t pointless.
However, the effect would be stronger if there were only two or one columns, which would make me scroll even longer.
Posted by: Kara | January 23, 2007 5:44 PM
Very Subliminal….one company appears two times….Which One? I found my self buying a six-pack of Heineken after looking at your site
Posted by: Jim | January 23, 2007 6:45 PM
THEY HAVE TO STOP MAKING MUSICALS BASED ON MOVIES AND VISA VERSA!!!!!!
Posted by: Tony | January 23, 2007 7:03 PM
Too much thats too much!! It gets to the point where you ask…how much advertising is too much?! Next there gonna have paved advertisments on the street sidewalks.
Posted by: Stacey Atwell | January 23, 2007 7:03 PM
Well, I wasn’t actually thinking either of those things.
I was thinking… “Hmm, Times Square must be bigger than I thought”
Posted by: Tom Ferguson | January 23, 2007 7:24 PM
I was wondering if i could get a larger view of these pictures?
Posted by: Fuzzy Moe | January 23, 2007 8:53 PM
It seems pointless to ‘throw your bread on the waters’ - but I think the idea is more brand recognition/confirmation than any type of initial branding. Seeing a favorite brand (Yahoo, Virgin) confirms your image.
Posted by: Sara | January 24, 2007 9:18 AM
A very cool post. I have linked to it. Pls check it out here.
Posted by: vjdanny | January 24, 2007 10:33 AM
That is quite a lot of adds. You don’t even notice it that much walking there. Thank you for taking time to do this, and keep on going.
(seen in the Netherlands, blogged on http://weblog.fok.nl/blog/14596)
Posted by: Hadewych (Twinky) | January 24, 2007 11:48 AM
okay so im in the creaticve advertising program at seneca college all the way in Toronto Ontario, Canada, and i love new york! all your pics are great , but they should have been alot larger and more unique, like the starbuck stickers on the sewers it was a sticker that was around them on the ground, and it had a coffee mug, steam coming out of them from the cold days… its awsome and different…but overall the site is great. i will definately come back and see what else you add to it.
Posted by: vanessa d | January 24, 2007 12:01 PM
Actually, I went with my GF to see Legally Blonde The Musical here in SF last night, and it was great. Who knew?
Posted by: Ryan Block | January 24, 2007 1:12 PM
Now please produce an image of Times Square where every single one of those ads has been removed digitally.
Posted by: RichM | January 24, 2007 1:39 PM
I really thought there were more ads than this…HMM…Anyways, cool.
Posted by: mike | January 24, 2007 1:59 PM
It makes me way less sick to my stomach in this format. Thanks.
Posted by: Comedy Blog | January 24, 2007 3:55 PM
wow, it’s like giving capitalism a colonoscopy!
Posted by: hugo | January 24, 2007 6:13 PM
aahhh…capitalism at it’s best. great photos!
Posted by: anonymous | January 24, 2007 7:24 PM
I thought this was going to be a lot longer as I was scrolling down and saw the length of the page, I didn’t realize that there would be a blog on this, still impressive though.
Posted by: tyler | January 25, 2007 11:10 AM
Best blog ever.
Posted by: ijustcalltosayiloveyou | January 28, 2007 12:59 AM
Cool idea. The cropping must have been seriously annoying. You are a very dedicated blogger.
Posted by: kate | January 28, 2007 2:06 PM
Eerily close to the world in ‘Idiocracy’ with every possible surface covered in advertising. Nice job.
Posted by: jason | January 28, 2007 3:25 PM
Ahhh yes, I work at Times Square as well. I stare at the ground and shuffle my way into the Times building, only sometimes catching the news stream on one of the buildings.
Posted by: Colleen | January 29, 2007 5:20 PM
Cool. I don’t know if store signs such as the Starbucks Coffee one is considered an “ad” though.
Posted by: Chinh | February 3, 2007 12:23 PM
He is an Op-ed I wrote about ads everywhere for AM New York, particularly in Times Square
Posted by: Katherine Goldstein | February 3, 2007 4:16 PM
I love it, it makes me very homesick.
Posted by: Lisa | December 13, 2008 12:09 AM
the Legally Blonde Musical was really good. so i dont know what y’all were talkin about.
Posted by: greeeebs | November 30, 2009 11:23 AM
Wow, that is a pretty nice effort in capturing every Times Square ad! I also spend far more time in Times Square than I should! Here are my photos of Times Square: http://stylepeterson.com/?s=times+square
Posted by: StylePeterson Times Square | August 18, 2010 11:40 PM