Why Are There Cat Billboards All Over This London Tube Station?

Crowdfunded Campaign Aims to Inspire People to Think Differently

Published On
Sep 13, 2016

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This week, 68 billboards of cat pictures appeared all over a tube (subway) station in South London -- but why?

Turns out the advertising takeover, at Clapham Common, wasn't the work of a pet food company, but the brainchild of a creative collective called Glimpse, who used crowdfunding to enable themselves to plaster cats all over the walls.

James Turner, the founder, explains in a blog post that the group wants to "use the power of creativity for good."

"Instead of focusing on the problem, we create 'glimpses' of a world where things are getting better. Back in February we asked ourselves to 'imagine a world where friends and experiences were more valuable than stuff you can buy.' The team began thinking about crowdfunding to replace tube adverts with something else. Beautiful forests? Time spent with family? Hmmm. We wanted this to become famous, so we needed something the internet would love. Frame it that way and the answer's obvious. Cats."

Glimpse launched a Kickstarter campaign called the Citizens Advertising Takeover Service (C.A.T.S.), which received backing from over 700 people. Many of the cats featured in this takeover are from Cats Protection, the U.K.'s largest feline welfare charity, while others are from Battersea dogs' and cats' home. The creative work was done by volunteers for the Glimpse collective, which currently numbers a core team of about 30. Media was bought at market rate, for a two-week period.

Turner, a former head of communications at Greepeace International, and currently head of communications at The Syria Campaign, told Creativity the campaign has generated a huge number of emails, calls and questions including from people who want to do something similar in their own city. Meanwhile, Glimpse is planning further projects, although they may not all be ad- (or indeed cat-) related. "My aim is to bring the activitist mentality to creativity," he said. "We're keen to tap into the creative industries, and ultimately bring creativity to causes."


Sep 13, 2016

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