TFL: Enhancing Your Journey By Assaulting Your Eyes

By Lindsey Last edited 118 months ago
TFL: Enhancing Your Journey By Assaulting Your Eyes

As of today, giant cinema-style screens have been installed opposite platforms at Piccadilly Circus, Euston, Bank, Liverpool Street and Bond Street stations to bombard you with cutting-edge advertising intended to 'enhance' your journey.

The system, called XTP, is centrally controlled so that advertising folk can decide what you need to see at different times of the day: commute to work with Sky News, get out to lunch with the trailer for Kung-Fu Panda and go home to Sky Movies or Nestle. Clever.

Disingenously, the Marketing Director for CBS Outdoor claims that:

The launch of XTP is about entertaining the three and half million passengers using the Tube each day.

Um. No. It's about pushing advertising in the faces of a captive audience. One that can quite capably choose to zone out the tube poster ads or use them as reading material on the way home but one that would probably prefer to escape from flashing images on a digital screen for half an hour or so each day.

At least they're silent. We're thankful for small mercies.

Image of an ad free tube station courtesy of version-3-point-1's Flickrstream from the Londonist Flickrpool.

Last Updated 30 June 2008

Chris Coltrane

"Um. No. It's about pushing advertising in the faces of a captive audience."

I agree completely. I dislike advertising as it is, but bombarding us with moving pictures is a particularly nasty thing to do. I try my best to avoid it by looking down at the floor whenever I go past video ads (such as the sort on the escalators at Paddington or TCR), but it's hardly the safest way to move around, nor the best way to be vigilant about muggers.

Actually, seeing adverts that are delivered through a format that I dislike tends to just make me hate the company more. For example, when I'm walking along a high street to find that company is trying to send me a pic of their logo by bluetooth, I tend to resent that company for wasting my time, and so don't buy their products. I expect I'll do broadly the same thing with anyone who chooses to advertise on these projectors.


This reminds me of that memorable scene in Back To The Future pt. 2, where Marty McFly (played by an impossibly young Michael J. Fox) is devoured by a hologrammatic shark as part of an advertising campaign for the umpteenth Jaws sequel.

BttF2 was set in 2015 - TfL are just jumping the gun by a few years, is all.

Dave Knapik

On the bright side, we're that much closer to a Blade Runner dystopia. I'm practising my origami unicorns as we speak.

While I agree with Dean that TfL are slightly ahead of the curve with the moving ads, they have failed to consider how hoverboards and flying cars will impact their business model in the coming years.


Hoverboards would be brilliant, wouldn't they? Except I would crash. A lot.


Ew. Rather grateful for my bicycle right now. I'll entertain myself, thank you.


As Industry Analysts in the digital out of home field we don't fully agree with some of your comments but DO understand why their would be a consumer backlash against too-much or in-your-face advertising in many out of home situations. The outdoor media owners do not get it right all the time - unfortunately with digital they need to get it right 99% of the time or it can be a real irritant rather than a boon.

Anyway, laughing along with you, you may be interested in this - MS Windoze does you a favour and gets its own back on CBS Outdoor