Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Moving adverts

A couple of weeks ago I was in London and passing through Liverpool Street tube station. Something that I've been dreading for years has finally started; they're now projecting moving adverts on to the wall. They've had the LCD screens on the escalators for ages now, they're not great but they only fill a small part of your peripheral vision - they're after the rest.

TFL try and sell this as something great for the commuters
We believe that this technology will enhance passengers' journeys
Really? Are you sure it won't get on their nerves? Would you stop it if it did? The eventual aim is to have every pixel of your periphery flashing and shouting so that your brain is so confused with the unmanageable amount of information that you'll do anything they tell you. Or stumble in front of a train.

It's an inevitability, an arms race. If you cover every square inch in posters then, per square inch, they're all worth less. So to make your milliacre more valuable it must now move. Soon they will all move. Then they'll start shouting at you, then they'll get linked to your oyster card so they'll be calling your name. Worse, linked to your nectar card so they can chase you down the street offering you carefully selected products you might like.

Not everyone agrees with me: this advertising blogger thinks it's great and shows how hi-tech we are. TFL clearly like it. Anyone else? I'd really like to know.

I have the attention span of a pea. It takes nothing for me to lose track of what the hell I was thinking, what someone just said or even why I got on this train in the first place. Please, I'm begging, leave my poor brain alone!


  1. Hi there, its the advertising blogger.

    I can see why these new technologies can seem like another part of the big brother scheme, but ultimately I see it as a great move with the times! I sincerely think we as humans are aware of the 'white noise' around us and are smart enough to make our own choices. Brands are there to show you what is avaliable, some more aggressive than others naturally.

    I don't actually like the screens because of its poor quality, but with a better resolution and screen (like i mentioned in Hong Kong) then I would be in favour of the idea of showing me movie trailers whilst I wait for my train... better than watching the little mice along the tracks!

  2. Ah, hello! For some reason I didn't get notified about the comments and I didn't think to check (didn't think anyone was reading this to be honest!).

    For me it's not a Big Brother thing. If I wanted to be overly dramatic I suppose it's a more of a capitalist everything-for-sale dystopia I fear rather than an Orwellian one. To be less dramatic I just think that moving adverts cross the line from white noise to in-your-face and the underground is something I have to use - I can't use consumer choice to avoid it.

    Perhaps you're right and I'll just learn to block it out.

    I will now go and work out how to turn on notifications...