London is known for many things: The home of greasy fish and chips, Harrods, the Union Jack, great music, great writers, fog, and as a popular vacation destination for weary American marketers. I had the pleasure of spending a week or so across the Pond in the old stomping ground of the Tudors. While I did not lose my head, I did lose my heart to London. San Francisco is great, but my heart is back in London riding the Tube. No, I’m not that big of a fan of public transportation, though those Brits do it right. It’s just that content is still king there, and the poster ads on the Tube (and in other places) proved that. Every time I stepped out of Waterloo Station I felt like Don Draper, fresh out of a Lucky Strikes meeting with my Mad Men creative team. Rather than tell you about it, the following is a photo journey of some of my favorites ads in London. It was a bit hard taking photos on the Tube, but if you click on the images, it should take you to a larger view.
Here’s an effective ad for The London Times. They use the melting of polar ice pages as an introduction to the their Sunday Science section. Climate Change and other world issues come into play in a number of the ads I saw. This one was one of the most compelling. It uses a great shot and some concise copy to make its point. It ends with “Be a part of the times.” Note the punctuation, creating a play on words.
This one is another favorite. In fact, it’s the first photo of an advertisement that I snapped in London, and it wasn’t till that moment that I realized I would even want to blog about ads I saw. I love this one because it is a head-turner and has a line you won’t forget. My mind was duly opened and inspired.
This next ad is all words. In fact, it’s flash fiction at its finest. The copywriter has taken on us a little journey that leads us through a fine department store, then right back to our computer where we will order the same wonderful product for much less.
I tried several times to get a good shot, but on a moving train with riders walking past my view it was tricky, so if you cannot read the copy in red, it reads: “then head over to Dixons.uk.co to order it for much less.” If Shakespeare were alive today, he might have been a vital member of the ad team at Dixons.
The next ad reminds us that you can’t please everyone. Just ask the poor advertising agency for the London Transit System. They came close, though, and this ad proves the success of the poster ads in the London Tube.
Thanks, London, for the sights, and for the great ride.