Ad Nauseam: Glitch causes MTR train to play appliance ad on loop for at least an hour

Screengrab via Apple Daily video.
Screengrab via Apple Daily video.

We all hate ads. We hate having to click ‘X’ every time one pops up while we’re trying to read an article. We hate lunging for the volume button every time one comes shrieking out of our speakers like some kind of corporate banshee between songs on Spotify.

Imagine then, if these weren’t occasional interruptions, but rather a continuous, unending drone, less akin to an irritating chirp than to the hours of heavy metal used to freak out besieged dictators and terrorism detainees?

It was this nightmare world that dozens of commuters found themselves in on Monday evening when they were forced to endure, after a long day at work, a 10-second ad for a Panasonic steam oven being played on a constant loop on the train’s intercom for about an hour, Apple Daily reports.

One of the passengers on the Kwun Tong line train, surnamed Chan, told the newspaper that he boarded at Prince Edward MTR station after switching from the Tsuen Wan line at 7:30pm, and shortly thereafter realized that the words “Steam, grill, stew, and more, all with the Panasonic steam oven!” were playing overhead again and again.

Chan recalled people in the train carriage looking visibly annoyed, with some taking out earphones to try and drown out the noise. The ad played throughout Chan’s 20-minute journey.

But according to the paper, the ad had been playing over the intercom since long before Chan boarded. Another passenger, surnamed Yeung, told the newspaper that he got on the same train at Ngau Tau Kok and got off at Prince Edward, with the Panasonic ad playing throughout his entire journey.

The journey from Ngau Tau Kok to Prince Edward takes about 30 minutes, which means the 10-second ad was playing on a loop for at least 50 minutes. It remains unclear when exactly the issue was rectified.

“It was very loud, very annoying and it bothered me a lot,” he said. “I just wanted it to be quiet.”

Although Section 25 of the MTR’s bylaws says no one should cause a nuisance to other passengers, it’s not clear if this applies to the accidental continuous looping of a kitchen appliance ad.

A spokesperson for the MTR Corporation confirmed to Apple Daily that they looked into the matter after receiving numerous complaints from passengers on Tuesday. After an investigation, they discovered that the train’s built-in advertising system had failed, causing the ad to be played on a continuous loop.


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