Whilst passing through the warren of busy stations on the London Underground network, you’ve probably noticed that it is a prime location to promote film releases, gigs, West End Shows and upcoming events in the capital. With a multitude of posters on display, all vying for commuters and tourists’ attention. One such advert you won’t see if for west end hit musical: Operation Mincemeat. The reason? Transport for London has banned the poster because they think the artwork looks too much like graffiti. They refused to display the poster, despite it being accepted everywhere else.
A spokesperson for Operation Mincemeat reacted to the news: ‘It is of course complete nonsense and belittling to the public’s intelligence, who can obviously tell graffiti from printing! Not to mention inflicting unnecessary and damaging costs on redesigns for a show that, while receiving now 64 five-star reviews, has come from small beginnings and doesn’t have the vast resources of a Hamilton or Book of Mormon at a tiny theatre like the Fortune Theatre.’
This news comes after TfL banned a different ad earlier this year, this time for Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding – an interactive experience on the grounds that it contained an ‘unhealthy’ wedding cake, amidst fears that it may promote obesity.
Of course, we all have to adhere to advertising guidelines, in fact as part of our Global Awards we even created the Better Media Practice Award. A category that awarded campaigns that combated ad fraud, reduced environmental impact, simplify the complex, made social media a safer place for young people and funding independent journalism. To ensure that the media and marketing landscape is a better place for all.
However, if a campaign isn’t misleading, or causing offense to others, we can’t help but ask ourselves in an instance like Operation Mincemeat if it’s an expensive case of overreacting?