"Believe in love," "Love always wins" and "Defend yourself. Fight," are just a few of the messages that New Yorkers have shared on Post-It Notes stuck to the walls of the Union Square subway station. The "Subway Therapy" has been viewed as one of the only healthy responses to the 2016 election results.
Sonos seems to agree. The audio tech brand was scheduled to launch a billboard campaign there this week, but decided against it after learning that the Post-Its were being removed to make space for its ads. The brand stopped the media placement and is taking steps to preserve the message wall.
"It was neither our request nor our desire for these notes to be taken down, and we regret that it happened," said Pete Pederson, Sonos VP of Global Communications. "The ‘Subway Therapy’ wall is an inspiring form of free speech in a tumultuous time that we think is worth preserving for as long as possible."
Sonos was alerted to the fact that a vendor had begun to replace the notes by complaints from several vigilant New Yorkers on social media.
Protest wall at Union Sq. subway station is being ripped down and replaced by @Sonos billboards. Happy holidays to all.— Dave Kehr (@dave_kehr) November 29, 2016
The brand had bought ad space for 20 ads of varying sizes months before the launch of the brand’s latest campaign in September. "You’re Better Than This" is a comical outlook on the plight of music fans dealing with speakers on tiny devices.
Of course, the removal of the Sonos ads means money wasted on unused ad inventory, but Pederson said the brand is not concerned with the lost media buy. "We think preserving this monument to free speech is worth every penny," he said.
Pederson said the company isn’t sure how the notes were handled once they were taken off the walls. To preserve the remaining notes, Sonos has hired a photographer to shoot photos of the messages today. The brand intends to display the pictures in some of their other ad spots in the station over the next few days.
"While we can’t control what happens outside of the space we’ve rented," said Pederson, "we can certainly help preserve the outpouring of Free Speech the ‘Subway Therapy’ wall represented."
While Sonos has ad space in other subway stations, Pederson said they don’t conflict with other therapy walls that have popped up around the city.
"Subway Therapy," an interactive art installation by artist Levee, began shortly after it was announced that Donald Trump had won the 2016 presidential election. New Yorkers took to the subways to express their frustrations, hopes and fears using Post-Its and attached them to the walls. Two and a half weeks later and people are still participating.