While regular commuters use New York City’s (in)famous subway system to get to work, the rich and the famous often use the subway when working in a public relations capacity.
For example: Jay-Z took the R Train to his own show at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center (a.k.a. Chez Jay-Z), and now Google co-founder Sergey Brin has been spotted on the 3 train sporting Google Glasses, which are basically the Internet on your eyes. Are they “everymen” now? Of course not. But we love them for it.
Though the public often has a complicated relationship with fame, we appreciate it when members of the more glamorous classes do “regular people” stuff like riding public transportation. Savvy PR professionals know that with the limitless social media platforms and digital devices out there, it doesn’t take long for someone famous on the subway to end up trending on Twitter. That’s valuable publicity for a mere $2.25.
Taking the subway demonstrates a connection with the public and the realities of our lives. Even star-struck commuters don’t reach for a pen and paper and ask, “Can I have your autograph?” They ask, “What are YOU doing on the subway?”
The subway system is the great equalizer and therefore serves as an excellent means of connecting with the public. The clack of the rails, the “Train Traffic Ahead of Us” announcements, the spontaneous mariachi bands, the mercurial DVD ladies and bristling buskers hopping from one car to the next…they all remind us that we’re part of something bigger, even if that something isn’t always easy to navigate.
So it’s nice when a celebrity comes along for the ride. Mr. Brin is worth $20.5 billion, and his Google Glasses are a steal at $1,500. And yet, on the subway, we feel like we know him. Same goes for Jay-Z and his commute to his gig in Brooklyn. We’re cool with that; we just move toward the middle to give him and everyone else a little more room. And no one cares if he happens to be getting off at the next stop.
Just don’t think about taking our seat.