Moving Ads For The Tube? (And More London Ad News)

By london_will Last edited 164 months ago
Moving Ads For The Tube? (And More London Ad News)

It's been a busy week for London's admen. First, there's the Standard Shite Lite advertising story (which Rob is writing about, so I won't go into here).

Second, Media Week reports the "beginning of the end" for flyposting after Camden council won its battle to slap an antisocial behaviour order on one persistent offender. Tim Horrox, managing director of music promoter Diabolical Liberties (the clue's in the name).

Quoth Media Week:

District judge James Henderson ruled that fly-posting was anti-social behaviour under the terms of the applicable act because he was "satisfied that flyposting has caused ... at the very least, distress" to Camden residents and business owners.

At the very least? What was the very worst? Marriage breakup? Atrophy of the extremities? Spasms? Londonist once felt extreme nausea after reading on a poster that a Busted concert was approaching, but that's the worst it gets.

(On an aside, why do ASBOs always get "slapped"?)

Last, but most importantly, it seems that US communications behemoth Viacom is trialling "moving advertising posters" for the Tube. These digital "dynamic screens would enable advertisers to create animated posters, show different advertisements depending on the time of day and update the content remotely" adds (ads?) "Media Week. The digiposters are being piloted at Tottenham Court Road.

This is a political move for Viacom - the £1.2bn Tube advertising contract is up for grabs and the shortlist has been whittled down to 10 firms (including Clear Channel, easily one of the most evil companies in the world). Viacom is the incumbent, and wants to keep hold of this peachy license to print money. Now, the other candidates will have to beat high-tech digital ads. Smart. Very smart.

Ah, there's that intense feeling of nausea again. The Moby posters that you could "interact" with (that is, enter a competition) using an infra-red mobile phones were bad enough because they didn't include the option to call the self-righteous prat directly and tell him not to produce any more tiresome dirges. Now there's the possibility that he might be able to move as well? It is easy to predict a surge in vandalism.

For a start, there's the fact that advertising in London is intrusive enough already, and getting more so every day. First they stick ads in the gents in pubs. Then, some of those are fitted so they can talk (or was that a drunken fantasy?). Then, the DLR trials digiscreens providing a mix of news, travel advice and ads. Then, they propose putting advertising screens in taxis, for heaven's sake. Now the posters on the Tube - already one of the most ad-plastered places in the world - are going to start moving. This is going too far.

OK, that's an argument not everyone will agree with. Some posters - some - on the trains themselves provide much-needed stimulation while stuck in tunnels, as well as a method of avoiding eye contact. But these moving posters are going on the escalators (for now).

The really chilling aspect of this story emerges when you consider what sort of products and services escalator ads endorse. To be specific: we're talking, mostly, West End musicals. Soon you will be forced to watch extracts of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as you ascend and descend.

The horror, the horror.

Last Updated 31 March 2005