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Metro’s Advertising Content Guidelines

Revised by Board action 6/28/13

Content restrictions for advertising displayed through these arrangements are as follows:

1. Alcohol and Tobacco Advertising

Advertising of all alcohol and tobacco products is prohibited. All products that simulate and/or encourage the act of smoking also are prohibited.

2. Non-Commercial Advertising

Metro does not accept advertising from non-governmental entities if the subject matter and intent of said advertising is non-commercial. Specifically, acceptable advertising must promote for sale, lease or other form of financial benefit a product, service, event or other property interest in primarily a commercial manner for primarily a commercial purpose.

Exception 1:  Governmental Agencies, meaning public agencies specifically created by government action located in Los Angeles County or a Federal or State of California Governmental Agency, may purchase advertising space for messages that advance specific government purposes. The advertising must clearly, on the face of the advertising, identify the Governmental Agency. It is Metro’s intent that government advertising will not be used for comment on issues of public debate.

Exception 2:  Metro will accept paid advertising from non-profit organizations that partner with a Governmental Agency (as defined in Exception 1 above) and submit advertising that advances the joint purpose of the non-profit organization and the Governmental Agency, as determined by each of them.  In order for advertising to qualify under this exception, the advertising must clearly, on the face of the advertising, identify the Governmental Agency and indicate that the Governmental Agency approves, sponsors, or otherwise authorizes the advertising.  The non-profit organization must also provide a Statement of Approval (attached) from the Governmental Agency describing the joint purpose to be advanced and setting forth a statement acknowledging support and approval for the submitted advertising.   Any message displayed under this exception must adhere to all other content restrictions stated in this policy.

3. Other Subject Matter Restrictions

Advertising may not be displayed if its content involves:

  • Illegal activity - Promotes or relates to an illegal activity.
  • Violence - Contains images, copy or concepts that promote guns/firearms or gun violence, or that depict weapons or other devices in an act of violence or harm on a person or animal, or contain any material that incites or encourages, or appears to incite or encourage, violence or violent behavior.
  • Demeaning or disparaging matter - Contains images, copy or concepts that actively denigrate, demean or disparage any individual or group.
  • Vulgar language - Contains language which is obscene, vulgar, crude, sexually suggestive, profane or scatological.
  • Obscene matter - Contains obscene matter as defined in the Los Angeles County Code, Chapter 13.17, Section 13.17.010, or sexually explicit material as defined in the Los Angeles County Code, Chapter 8.28, Section 8.28.010D.
  • Adult entertainment – Promotes or displays images associated with adult book stores, video stores, dance clubs or other adult entertainment or sexually-oriented establishments, telephone services, internet sites, films, video games or escort services.
  • Political endorsements – Contains messages that are political in nature, including messages of political advocacy, that support or oppose any candidate or referendum, or that feature any current political office holder or candidate for public office, or take positions on issues of public debate.
  • Religion - Contains images, content or copy related to religion or religious ideas or viewpoints.
  • Negative connotations of public transit - Contains images, copy or concepts that actively denigrate public transportation.
  • Unsafe transit behavior – Contains images, copy or concepts that depict unsafe behaviors aboard buses or trains, or in or around transit stations or railroad tracks.
  • Metro’s endorsement – Contains images, copy or concepts that inaccurately state or imply Metro’s endorsement of the subject of the advertisement.
  • Harmful or disruptive to transit system – Contains material  that is so objectionable as to be reasonably foreseeable that it will result in harm to, disruption of, or interference with the transportation system

4. Metro’s Right of Rejection

Beyond the above, Metro’s vendors may review advertising content according to their own guidelines of acceptability. Metro does not screen individual ads submitted to its vendors prior to posting unless specifically requested to do so by the vendors. Nevertheless, in all contracts Metro reserves the right to reject any advertising content submitted for display on its properties and/or to order the removal of any advertising posted on its properties. Decisions regarding the rejection or removal of advertising are made by the Chief Communications Officer or their designee based upon the criteria in this policy statement.

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