28 March 2017 | 5 °C

Mysterious Yellow Balls Spotted On Thames

By london_will Last edited 144 months ago
Mysterious Yellow Balls Spotted On Thames

Working in an office block overlooking the Thames and the City beyond - as this Londonist contributor is occasionally lucky enough to do - one occasionally sees some odd things. But this, spotted today at about 3pm, really takes the digestive biscuit.

mystery_balls.jpg

The launches were observed from both sides and have no writing or identification marks on them.

The black-and-white ship "leading" the flotilla might be a police barge. But it was certainly involved.

Here's a closeup.

balls_closeup.jpg

Normally, the only balls one would see on the Thames compose of drunken Sloanes on one of those horrible party-boats. This is obviously different. It reminded me more of Claes Oldenurg's 1967 proposal for a monumental ballcock in the Thames.

Oh look, an uninvolved but colour-coded barge. How pretty.

balls_and_barge.jpg

(Thanks to Richard K for the photos.)

So, guys, any ideas? Business promotion? Protest? Obscure ritual event? Scientific study? Dastardly Al-Qaeda plot of some sort? You decide.

Last Updated 14 March 2005

tkgeorge

Fathers for Justice, perhaps? They seem to be a recurring theme for you guys...

Rob

Could they be oversized versions of those air freshening cubes they put in pub urinals?

Chris

Or maybe just a big PR stunt from dyson...

balls.

Alex

To be fair Will, it looks as if you've created an elaborate model version of the Thames in your living room, and this is your latest game.

Will

I saw it, I tells ya, I saw it. "PR stunt for Dyson" sounds like the likeliest story so far, but you would have thunk they might habe put at least a web address on these things.

bbm

Replacement parts for the Thames barrier?

Rob

Yeah it's Dyson:

the ball.

Mystery solved.

Will

Curses. I was hoping it would be much more interesting than that.

Crappy advertising though - lots and lots of office blocks overlook that stretch, hundreds of people must have seen the boats, and we would have flooded to any URL, if it had been displayed.

Rob

What they should have done is recreated the Michael Jackson stunt where he floated that huge statue of himself down the river. Except this time they could have had him hoovering with one hand and browsing some 'adult material' with the other.

Now that's publicity.

Katie

Dyson???? That's crap.

Mark

Innovation for marketing's sake, methinks. (ps. how does it fit under the sofa?)

Ollie

Crappy advertising though



Anything but - it wouldn't even have been a Londonist story I'm sure, if it had been obvious it was just an advertising stunt. But it wasn't obvious, hence we are talking about it. Classic viral marketing.

Will

Well, "we" may be talking about it, but "we" amount to very few people, and that was reliant on a chance coincidence of a great view, a powerful digital camera, and a website. In terms of what that might have cost compared to the number of vacuum cleaners it might sell, I don't see the benefit. Besides, Dyson received plenty of coverage in this morning's press, which probably cost nothing, advertised his product far more effectively, and didn't involve the river promotion.

So it was crappy advertising.