It started on our Tuesday morning commute. Scene: the New York City subway headed toward Manhattan from Brooklyn. It’s an ideal playground for tech-startup advertisers looking to broadcast their message to captive commuters who, in the midst of an ongoing transit crisis, are spending more time on the trains than ever. Nestled alongside banners promoting free STD testing, we spotted a poster for Slice, a start-up pizza delivery service.
“Making pizza is my passion. But pricey online ordering fees really hurt my shop. Companies charge us around 22% per order just to show up in their apps, making us unable to turn a profit,” the ad read, in the voice of Chuck, from Billy’s Pizza & Pasta in Brooklyn.
The ad appeared to take aim at larger, better-known competitors—like Grubhub, the parent company of ubiquitous delivery service Seamless, which boasted 10 million customers in the third quarter of 2017 alone—for squeezing local businesses.