Show Me The Way

Something which I believe has a large impact upon the environment of our cities is advertising, whether the large billboards at junctions or the smaller A-boards outside shops, whether on public transport or in posters outside shops. In fact I have commented upon this before here and here for example.

When I was more active in politics it was always my ambition to advertise on the side of a bus. To have an image you’ve created driving around the place you live in I think is just fantastic. So one of the things I was most pleased with myself for achieving whilst working for a Labour MP was to get her and her contact details advertised on the side of a bus. It was great seeing the advert I had taken the photo for, and then designed, driving around Reading. I had also wanted to get an advert shown at the cinema but I was not able to make that happen.

So I am very aware of the averts and other things I see around me whilst traveling around Strasbourg.

All of the tram-stops have lit poster sites, with around six to eight adverts on each side offering over 15 adverts at each normal stop, with more at sites where lines intersect or there is a transport interchange with busses. The adverts are changed around Tuesday and the company who host the adverts also maintain the shelters they feature on, including cleaning them. The maintenance is done to a high standard. Most of the stops have lights not working or replaced but all the lights work in the adverts.

Last week, suddenly, there were semi-naked women everywhere showing off their underwear. Though as it was an advert for a make of underwear I assume it was underwear the women had been paid to have their picture taken wearing, and not being their own personal underwear. Not having been involved in this I do not know, but it might be that they got to take home the underwear they had been photographed wearing.

As a red-blooded heterosexual man I must say I am pleased at this sudden appearance of pictures of women in underwear forming part of the backdrop to my daily journeys around my home city. Underwear models are usually more like normal women, they are not stick thin – although those in these pictures they are on the thinner side.

At the same time as the pictures of women in their underwear appeared, around Strasbourg there appeared some other  adverts, giving some clue about the reason for the sudden appearance of the underwear adverts. Jewelry and perfume, together with adverts for lonely hearts, ah Valentines Day is approaching. What surprised me the most is that the people selling what seems to me to be quite expensive and high-class women’s underwear, jewelry and perfume think it worthwhile to advertise on posters at the tram stops in Strasbourg.

Does it say something about the people who use the tram and their spending power? My observations of the customers of the tram company are mostly people who don’t spend their money on the kind of underwear or perfume being advertised or buy jewelry much if at all ,unless for various facial piercings.

Or is it that the adverts will be seen by people passing the tram stops? Not the people riding the tram but those in their car going past/ Are they the customers these adverts are really for? Either way I do not know but I guess they must work or the underwear, perfume and jewelry retailers would not use this form of advertising would they? Anyway I’m not too bothered about it as having semi-naked women to look at whilst travelling around and then post here has improved my life.

When the bus was travelling around the people it got most noticed by and we got the biggest response was teenage schoolchildren. A group that we had not had any interest in relating to any other initiative the MP had carried out. Even when she did things you might think they would have been interested in. This shows I think that this group spend more time walking around our towns and cities so what is shown on advertisements and the side of a bus form a bigger part of their landscape and are more likely to be noticed by them. I wonder what the teenagers have made of the pictures on show here?

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