London is a beautiful place full of art, history, and diverse cultures. Exploring the big city put a lot of things into perspective for me. I expected to feel like I was in a foreign destination, but London felt a lot like every other city I have been to. Looking past all of the unique tourist-y things to do there (like taking a ride in the London Eye or seeing Big Ben), London is a normal city, full of normal people. The city is still fast-paced and hectic, just like New York or Chicago. And come to find out, their advertising is a lot similar too. I used to think London would be so different, but it seems I was wrong.

One of the first things I noticed during my stay in London was the array of advertisements at every tube station. It has been awhile since I have used underground transportation, so witnessing a large amount of ads pinned up across every wall was interesting to me. The ads ranged from medication ads to new television show promotions. The ad selections varied so drastically in hopes to probably reach anyone and everyone in the city. So many people use the tube daily, so it would be hard to know (as an advertiser) if your ads are reaching the right audience.

Tube Station
The tube stations have a wide selection of different advertisements.

There were two common themes when it came to advertisements in the tube stations: broadway production-ads and witty America related-ads. Being that London is known for their fine-arts, I knew about big musical productions taking place here. I expected to see advertisements of all sorts of plays and I was right to assume so. There were so many different shows and theaters to visit throughout the city and the tube station is a great place to take a look at what’s currently playing. The tubes personally gave me inspiration to catch some shows while I was there, so I ended up seeing two different productions within a matter of a couple of days. It is crazy to think of how effective these ads truly are.

Theater Ad
Theater related ad.

American-related ads were displayed throughout the stations too. For example, I recall seeing ads (for random brands) that used President Trumps “Let’s Make America Great Again” line for their own achievement. Of course they tweaked the line up a bit so that they weren’t directly copying his saying, but it was still clear what the brand was trying to do. People (Americans) could look at that ad and consider it to be a form of “mocking”, but I personally thought it was witty and creative. The ad made me chuckle because I knew that famous saying and I thought it was clever for someone to use its publicity for their own gain. Throughout my travels inside the tube, I saw a good amount of American related advertisements. From Trumps famous words to lyrics from an American song/artist, the British ads have shown a lot more diversity than I thought they would.

An example of a witty ad that referenced an American song.

Outside of advertisements within the underground rail stations, I found it interesting to see American-known brands used in the making of a London tourist attraction. To be more specific, when I walked to the London Eye and stood in line to board I noticed a certain brand’s name was plastered everywhere. In every direction I turned I could easily spot out this brand. Come to find out Coca-Cola is a contributor to the making of the London Eye. If you were to try to buy a ticket online, you would even see the brands name throughout the page. I knew the brand was known across the world, I just didn’t realize to what extent.

The advertisement of this brand makes it seem like it is more superior than the attraction itself. For instance, the sign at the front of the ticket building reads, “London Eye Ticket Office”. Off to each side is the “Coca-Cola” name in a bold font and then the “London Eye” in a fainter font. So this sign apparently needed two displays of the brand name. I understand that if Coca-Cola funded the attraction than of course they would want their name acknowledged somewhere within the area, but it seemed a little bit overdone.

The London Eye ticket building.

From far away you probably won’t be able to see the Coke brand all over each pod on the London Eye, but trust me it is there. The brand name was written multiple times on the glass that we look out through during the fifteen minute ride. I feel that Coke is such a staple of a soda brand already that the never-ending advertising of it was unnecessary. It made me feel like the London Eye was Americanized. The brand logo made the attraction seem more cheesy and not like a London must-see.

The brand’s name spread across on the London Eye.
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A corner of the Coca-Cola name from inside the London Eye…and someone’s actual Coke bottle.

Altogether, it was nice to examine the stations and see how advertisements are presented underground in such a large city. The ads in the tube stations made sense and represented what I believe to be city-life type of ads (ads that can reach anyone). And then examining how Coca-Cola presented themselves in London was very interesting to me. I was definitely shocked when I saw the brands name shoved into the limelight. I guess I just didn’t expect this tourist attraction to be so connected with a brand (or an American brand for that matter), even though it is a newer attraction. London has given me plenty of insight on some differences and a lot more similarities in the advertising realm. It has also enlightened me in how American culture (our President for example) influences some of the ads throughout the U.K. and how American-known brands advertise themselves in another country. My final conclusion is: Across the pond ads are quite similar to America’s. We are not so different after all.

 

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