An activist creative collective is hoping to make commuters feel better by swapping 68 ads with photos of cute kitties, many of them in need of homes.
What an awesomely way to start the day: Head to the subway station and be bombarded not with sulky models or action movie ads, but with photos of cats. Lots and lots of cats … 68 photos of cats, to be exact.
This is the lucky fate for commuters using the Clapham Common Tube station in South London, thanks to the efforts of the creative collective called Glimpse. And amazingly, this ad swap wasn’t a guerilla marketing campaign for pet food or some other clever advertising gimmick – just the work of “a group of friends who want to use creativity for good.”
The project is called the Citizens Advertising Takeover Service (CATS) (of course) and was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign. (Which is perhaps the best Kickstarter ever!) The aim? “We hope it will help people think a bit differently about the world around them, and get inspired to change things for the better.”
Glimpse describes themselves as an open and voluntary collective for creative people. The group’s founder, James Turner, writes:
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.
Turner notes that the group is not against advertising, per se, but hopes to encourage us – and maybe more importantly those who create ads – to open our eyes to the world we live in.
“We want agencies and brands to be mindful of the power they wield and to use it to encourage positive values in society," he says. "Things like empathy and tolerance, community and togetherness deserve to be at the heart of our culture.”
The cat un-ads will be up for two weeks. For more information or to join the collective, visit the project page here.