A famous jewellers has been meddling with London's architectural gems.
Why has Cartier moved St Paul’s Cathedral and the Gherkin to the South Bank?? pic.twitter.com/QqmJBOyJrv— Tom Dyckhoff (@tomdyckhoff) November 30, 2018
This advert for Cartier has drawn ire and derision on Twitter for its blatant rearrangement of the London skyline.
We've taken a close look and can spot six examples of digital swizzfiddling:
As tweeter Tom Dyckhoff noted, St Paul's and the Gherkin have swapped allegiance for South London. Meanwhile, the Palace of Westminster has migrated downriver to Blackfriars (indirectly explaining, perhaps, why the proposed refit is going to take the best part of a decade).
Most baffling of all, Tower Bridge finds itself linking the West End and South Bank in place of Waterloo Bridge. It certainly is a joy to see the span on this bend, but its famous opening bascules are redundant. No tall ship can reach this part of the Thames thanks to the many lower bridges downstream.
We spotted two other minor touch-ups. The new buildings round the Shell Centre are shown as completed (they're still under construction with cranes and scaffolding everywhere). Over in the City, meanwhile, a stumpy skyscraper lurks beside the Cheesegrater. This is presumably the bulky 22 Bishopsgate, currently nearing completion, with its upper floors lopped off. No bad thing.
So why did Cartier do this? The obvious answer, widely assumed on Twitter, is to make London look even better than reality by cramming the most famous landmarks into one sweeping sunrise shot. This fantasy London is eye-catching and original. Plus, Cartier's international customer base may be largely ignorant of London's real geography, so an impressionistic landscape works just fine.
We suspect there's more to it, though. Marketing types know full well that the surest way to get people talking is to make them feel clever. We've all seen adverts that add a superfluous apostrophe, or say 'less than' when they should say 'fewer than'. What happens? They get shared like crazy on social media, as people jostle to point out the flaky grammar. How many of these 'mistakes' are deliberate feints, to get a message shared more widely?
Something similar's going on with the Cartier image. The advertiser isn't using an idealised London just for the sake of a pretty picture. They know that hoards of social media nitpickers will jump on the image and share it to a much larger audience (and a very different demographic) than a Cartier advert might normally reach.
If so, it's worked. The advert has been retweeted by thousands, and we're contributing to the coverage with this stupid bit of analysis. It's a diamond bit of advertising from Cartier. The only question that remains is how we're to find their New Bond Street store if all the streets have been shuffled around.