Consumer Insight: Talking commuters' language

Commuters are now bombarded with a wide selection of media choices. So what do they make of them? Campaign asked four people to reveal what they take in on their way to work.


For some people, commuting to work is the most tedious part of the day. But I try to make the most of the journey by using the time to listen to new music, radio and podcasts.

I catch the train into King's Cross, where I switch to the Tube to Tottenham Court Road and then it's a short walk to work.

Working in the music industry, I'm constantly listening to music, and there's no better time to do this than on the train with little distraction. Podcasts are especially good to listen to, since there's not a lot of time in the day when I can listen to a 20-minute show without interruptions. A favourite of mine is the Shakecast from the London band The Shakes. It brightens up my mornings with their friendly banter and music.

On the return trip, I often pick up a copy of Music Week or NME on my way out of the office; they keep me up to date with the music scene.

Sometimes, on my way home, I stray from music and read thelondonpaper. I like the idea of a free paper, not only to catch up on the news, but also as a distraction from the commute. But I don't like the way it's forced upon you multiple times on the walk from the office to the Tube.


I'm not a mornings person. This means that when I've just got up, I'm very irritable and tend to do my best to shut out the outside world.

I have a ten-minute walk to the station, during which time I listen to music on my iPod. I text all the time (on the move and when stationary).

My local station is small, so it doesn't have any newspaper stands or ads. However, once I get off the train at Putney, I'm bombarded with ads, which I generally ignore. I sometimes pick up a Metro if we have some free time at school, which is when I can read it, but I don't often bother - it's a bit of a challenge to get to the stand. I never listen to the radio, as I can't tune in on my phone.

Out of the station, there are often people handing out other free newspapers and ads everywhere, usually on buses or billboards. Anything too bright is detrimental to my mood, but I don't mind anything to do with a TV show that I like to watch because it kicks off conversation with my friends.

On the way home, my friend and I do get a free London paper if we can, but only to read our horoscopes!


Going in by train, I usually get The Times. When I'm coming back, I usually pick up one of the free newspapers, just for something to read on the journey. I treat it as a boredom restraint, I don't rate them. I don't think they're newsworthy. They hand out the London Lite and thelondonpaper, but I wouldn't cross the street for them. I have no brand loyalty.

I drive to London in order to get the train to Victoria or London Bridge for work. Sometimes I use the Tube or I will travel by bus.

I do listen to my iPod. I use the same places to find podcasts - Radio Five, National Geographic, The Economist, New Scientist and the BBC. I also have some podcasts on philosophy. In an ideal world, I'd listen to them more, but just don't get around to it.

I used to listen to Capital when I was growing up, but it annoys me now how many ads there are and how long they go on for. My impression is that it's not my world; I tend to listen to Radio Five Live, Radio 4 and Radio 2.

I have noticed on public transport that people spend more time looking at mobile phones. I use mine a bit, but not for a long text conversation.


When I drive to work, I usually listen to Radio 4's Today programme, and PM on the way home. The only London radio stations that I think offer any sort of entertainment are the talk shows, particularly LBC.

On the train, I'll have a broadsheet, which I read on the way up and on the way back. If I pick up a free paper, I try not to pick up a new one, since I don't want to fuel demand, but I will leaf through a second-hand issue. Metro is better than the others, perhaps because it has less celebrity coverage, which I hate, but I do like Metro's "60-second interview" slot. From time to time, I buy the Evening Standard for its coverage of London politics.

If I cycle to work, I rarely notice a billboard, except on the back of a bus. There are more important things to look out for ... The posters that I do notice are where they've put an ad somewhere unexpected, such as the ones on the scaffolding at St Paul's Church in Hammersmith. When I'm on the train, I find myself reading the posters at the station - when I'm stuck on the platform, I'll read anything.