Tube adverts – By @CocoShellim

By Coco Shellim


Tube adverts



Dan and I are trying to make a game to help clean oceans. We’ve recently found out we will need the app to reach around a million downloads before we can start making any money for the cause. We’ve also spent all our budget.


So, I’ve been thinking about how to advertise for free and subvertising. Instead of spoofing the existing ads we can replace an advert with a poster for our app.


It’s well known that most adverts on the tube are shit. Remember when the Trivago woman was everywhere you turned? Tube ads are also pretty impossible not to see, unless it’s rush hour where you’re squeezed in so tightly you can’t see very far. In general, you have people waiting in a closed space and mostly without wifi. 


A lot of people.


The Victoria line has around 200 million people using it every year. A bit of quik mafs – If there are 200M a year then that makes about half a million people a day who will step onto a Victoria line tube carriage. And the Victoria line isn’t even the busiest line. 


When it costs around £60K to advertise a 48 sheet site for 2 weeks on the platform, it’s hard not to think how easy it would be to slide one of your ads into the frames, for free.


The more I’ve been reading about subvertising the more I think I agree with their philosophy.


Brandalism recently put their messages into the tube ad spaces- ‘Advertising shits in your head.’ They believe that outdoor advertising should be banned and that public spaces belongs to everyone so no-one should be able to own it.’


Which begs the question, why should public art be taken down and corporate messages be kept up?


Sao Paulo banned advertising in 2007 saying outdoor ads were a type of visual pollution. They introduced the clean city law, banning everything from bus posters to showy business signs, even handing out pamphlets in the street was illegal. 


A New York app called No Ad is an AR app that strips the subway of ads and replaces them with art. A similar Google chrome extension, unlike adblock covers the ads on websites with art and not just a blank white box.


Even David Ogilvy spoke about his hatred for outdoor advertising in the 60s. “Man is at his vilest when he erects a billboard,” Ogilvy wrote. “When I retire from Madison Avenue, I am going to start a secret society of masked vigilantes who will travel around the world on silent motor bicycles, chopping down posters at the dark of the moon.”



If you’re interested, here’s a free online manual to subvertising, enjoy.

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