I like looking at ads on the Tube and that's not just because I have a marketing background. I agree with a study by TNS which "discovered" that Tube Car advertising provides the traditionally reserved British public somewhere to direct one's gaze, so as not to risk catching the eye of a fellow passenger. A further study 'The London Commuter' found that a third of commuters think that advertising on the London Underground brightens up their journeys.
And whatever you think about them - they DO work.
Admittedly I don't go off and buy all the products that are on the ads, but I can usually remember the brands that I see on the way into work and coming home. In previous jobs, I've run Tube ad campaigns and we got a fairly high product/brand recall and referral rate from people who said they saw our ad on the Tube.
TfL would lose millions in revenue if we didn't have them and we all know where that lost revenue would end up. So if I get slightly cheaper fares as a result of having ads that I don't have to look at, I'd rather have them than not. Plus I believe most people think the same or certainly aren't prepared to put their money where their good intentions are.
An art-not-ads pledge campaign failed to reach its target of getting enough "anti Tube advertisement" people to raise funds to buy just one ad that could be replaced with art. 350 people needed to cough up a tenner for this pledge to work and they only managed to get 172 people to say they'd do it.
On the way home last night, I saw one of those ads with loads of copy in it. Basically, CBS Outdoor, the company that sell all the ads on the London Underground have launched a competition for advertising people to create a Tube advert that explores an interesting and involving concept in more depth. They used a picture of Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs (underground writers - you can see where they're going with this) to promote new underground writers.
It said "Tube cards can tell a proper story to a captive audience of people travelling on the Underground. They provide a unique and one to one relationship, on average; people spend around 13 minutes reading Tube cards."
If you work for an ad agency or are part of a freelance copywriting & design team, check out the competition and you could win a free Tube campaign & a trip to New York.