Thursday, 17 November 2011

Advertising Christmas

Yet another giant LED screen appears in London, with a backdrop of yet another massive office development (actually, it's just visible to the right of the photo, behind Euston Tower). While it's tempting to see rapacious development as a sign that the economy hasn't collapsed yet, you sometimes wonder what is happening to the city. Giant screens are part of the attraction at Piccadilly Circus, but do we really want them spreading to any vacant site, stealthily replacing boring old paper posters and finding new high-profile spaces that still haven't been used for advertising? On the Tube system it's happened on a large scale already. London Underground have phased out paper posters completely to replace them with illuminated posters and LCD displays, installed projectors on platforms, and put banks of video screens on escalators. The only thing that stops them putting moving images on the corridors is that it's thought to be disorienting, and therefore likely to lead to people bumping into each other - an effect that presumably doesn't come into play when you're running down the escalator. At Euston Station, a recent overhaul of a very untidy station concourse has been resolved by putting in giant video screens all round, up at high level where there used to be a collection of uncoordinated adverts. Currently the whole lot are advertising the new Range Rover, as if London needs any encouragement to fill the streets with overpowered gas-guzzling status symbols.

The advertising screen in this photo overlooks the traffic underpass on Euston Road. Inevitably we are going to see more of these in the near future.

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