Category Archives: Advertising

Does my bum look big in this?


On the way to a meeting, I was standing in front of this poster on a tube platform. It’s nice enough – the locations all look quite appealing, especially when you’re waiting on the underground. I wouldn’t normally pay much attention to it but, on this occasion, I had time to stop and stare and couldn’t help but notice that the young lady on the left has 2 bums!


It’s a weird distraction (for the few that even noticed) but it wouldn’t stop you getting a South West train to the beach so I hope they weren’t too hard on the people responsible. After the stomach dropping realisation, there’s an opportunity to look at why it happened, improve some procedures and move on.

Incidentally, I came across this while trying to find out how far underground I was standing. 150 fascinating Tube facts I didn’t find out how deep the eastbound platform at St. Pauls is but I did find out there is only one tube station which doesn’t have any letters from the word ‘mackerel’ in it!

Live and learn.


Stuck with it

You know when someone shows you something and you can’t ever unsee it?


Well, a friend pointed out that this ad background looks like a naked man with a big red penis! Now I can’t unsee it so it makes me laugh every time. Taste the feeling indeed! There were several locally but I havent seen it for a few days. Perhaps somebody else has noticed too!

Who are you talking to?

I saw these posters at the weekend and they got me thinking about the design process.

I can imagine some trepidation when this brief came in. Sex is a sensitive enough subject, plus anything with people in can be an equal opportunities minefield. Using animals instead is a good solution. They’ll brighten up the place (East London) and who doesn’t like nature? It can probably be done with stock shots (which, knowing local authorities, might well have been part of the brief). And they’ll be educational. Did you know this animal does it like this? Then bring it back to the point with ‘whatever way YOU do it, use a condom’. All good. Let’s go.

I like them but that’s what made me wonder – are they working? It doesn’t matter what I think because they’re not aimed at me. The URL suggests they’re for young people. I’m not suggesting young people aren’t interested in nature or that the posters are badly designed, but I can’t help thinking they need to do more. Even if the young happen to look up, would they recognise they’re being spoken to or would they think ‘aww, flamingos. Wildlife park.’ and turn back to their phones.

I’d like to think some research went on (more extensive than mine which involved asking one 14 year old what they thought*) but there isn’t always time. There is, however, always time to ask ‘does this creative answer the brief?’. When the ideas are discussed, and again when they’re settled. When the visuals are chosen, even when the work is complete, it’s worth revisiting the brief and checking you’re still on track.  ‘Does this solution say what we want to the people we want to talk to?’.

I don’t know. Maybe they started out looking quite different but the approval process watered them down – that can happen too (the people paying and approving are often not the target audience either). Or maybe they’re fine and teenage pregnancy numbers in the borough will plummet. Either way, if you see flamingos with their heads in the water, look away.

(*’wildlife park’)