A new culinary craze has arrived in town.
So-called ‘clickbait cuisine’ has now become an almost ubiquitous feauture in NYC subway cars. A few examples of the content being broadcast to the MTA’s millions of daily users include recipe videos for “brieghetti pie,” a stuffed egg-in-a-hole “baked brunch boat,” and an omelet cooked in a plastic bag.
These are the work of advertising firm Outfront, which chose to fill their ad spaces with eye-catching content rather than informational or, in the case of some of the recipes, edible content – in a somewhat bizzare example of new investment in the otherwise crumbling MTA infrastructure.
The ads frequently involve converting pre-made goods, giving the impression that they are quick and simple, but they may also be quite labor-intensive. And sometimes they degenerate into nonsense or a difficulty well beyond the skill level of the average subway user.
Outfront touts the advantages of this type of “out-of-home” advertising in marketing materials as the potential to corner a market that is suffering from “digital fatigue” and used to apathetically scroll through advertisements.
It doesn’t matter if you can actually carry out any of these ideas. Australian YouTuber and culinary scientist Ann Reardon tried out several such videos, only to discover that most of the times they couldn’t be duplicated. The primary objective of clickbait cuisine is after all to entertain people. And, of course, profit.