If the Holy Grail for effective communication is "engagement", then these ads are an object lesson in achieving just that. Because terms like "engaging" and "charming" were just some of the phrases used in praise of these ads from the judging panel at D&AD.
The marketing objective from London Transport was simple – make commuters think that season tickets represented good value. The creative strategy chosen to achieve this was to demonstrate all the extras that your season ticket could be used for, other than just going to and from work. If you like, it was another way of demonstrating the "buy this, get this FREE" approach.
Beautifully persuasive copy, revealing some perhaps lesser-known 'nuggets' of information about places one can reach on the capital's Underground system, was combined with some equally charming, hand-tinted, woodcut illustrations. And 'charm' is exactly what the series of ads, appearing in London's local papers, did to their readers.
Far from the long copy being off-putting to the hurried and harassed capital workforce, the information provided a welcome escape from the drudgery of the commute.
In fact, research persuaded against my idea to also produce these as 48-sheet, cross-track posters, as the client feared there would be such a desire to finish reading these eye-catching works of art, that passengers could choose to miss their train in order to finish reading them, thereby adding to platform congestion.
Whether these same passengers would have stayed on the trains and missed their stops for the same reason, if we'd decided to run them as Tube cards, remains to be seen.
D&AD Award - In-book