Diary: Speaker's Corner

God I hate London Underground. Yes, I know that it's more environmentally friendly than the car and it's sure as hell quicker than daring the A4 tailback. But it doesn't get much worse than finding yourself squeezed between two well-padded tourists with Texan twang as you realise you're going to be late again because of signal failure at Green Park.

Reading a paper's out of the question; there's no room to use my hands for the duration of the trip (luckily somebody's bag is pushed so far up my arse that every itch caused by my too snug trousers is nevertheless being dealt with).

So there I am, literally a captive audience. And how does the sophisticated, opportunistic, researched-to-the-hilt advertising industry take advantage of the one time in my day when I wish to distract myself from the awfulness of my surroundings for half an hour or so?

Badly. Yes, there are some ads inside the Tube cars, those little rectangular ones that sit on the wall above the heads of the smug bastards with seats.

And unlike almost every other commercial message that will bombard me during the day, these ads are right there in front of me for what seems like an interminable period.

But for some reason they are unremittingly awful. Diamond Motor Insurance, Berocca, Pharmaton Capsules. Yuck to the lot of them.

Tube car ads seem to come from another school of advertising to the one that produces the glossy TV, press and poster work I see all around me during the rest of my day ... yet often they are from the same advertiser.

Standing there, unable to move in the Tube scrum, I have time to read some beautifully crafted copy, admire some perfectly executed creative ideas and, most importantly of all, forget about my immediately hellish environment. Yet, without fail, the ads seem written by someone unfamiliar with the natural idiom of the language and art directed by a third-rate novice.

They are, truly, an insult to my intelligence and a shameful waste of a brilliant opportunity in this cluttered advertising world.

- Got an axe to grind? E-mail us at campaign@haynet.com.


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