Why Every Ad Space in This London Subway Station May Soon Have a Cat on It

A Kickstarter that wants a softer sell

Headshot of Angela Natividad

It can be exhausting to travel by subway, especially when you work in advertising. Subways are home to some of the grabbiest, ugliest creative in all of existence, often in multiples. 

To wit: Yesterday, while stepping out of the Paris Métro, I saw a billboard for the Chatons d'Or, or The Golden Kitten, a new tongue-in-cheek ad awards show. I was tired, not in the mood, and—worst of all—it put my brain back in work mode again, well after midnight. 

Given how many award shows we already have (I mean, did you know we even have one for TV interstitials? Those are literally ads to advertise your upcoming ad break), and how many other lowest-common-denominator inanities we're subjected to when traveling to and from anywhere, we're pretty receptive to this Kickstarter campaign to replace all the ads in one London tube station … with pictures of cats. 

Nothing else. Just cats. No $9.99 bikinis perched alongside gym memberships. No award shows, ironic or not. No blockbuster movie posters all in a row, punting an aged actor as a hilariously bad grandpa. Cats. Cats

Created by the Citizens Advertising Takeover Service (C.A.T.S!), the campaign aims to raise £20,000 (about $29,000) by May 21. It has so far raised one-quarter of its goal, and Transport for London has already agreed that, provided payment is made, they'd be on board—for one of their smaller stations, at least. 

Guys. We don't have much time. Here is their pitch video. 

"Imagine the joy we could bring to all those busy shoppers," the presenter says. "Instead of being asked to buy something, they'd be free to think happy thoughts, to smile and laugh." 

Obviously, the C.A.T.S. organization doesn't really exist, but this isn't really an agency play masquerading as ironic self-awareness. The people behind it—no, not Brandalism, though they'd probably make solid allies—hail from a collective called Glimpse, which bills itself as "a group of creative people who want to use our skills for good." 

"Maybe cats won't make us happy either, but it's got to be better than insurance adverts," Glimpse writes in the campaign's Kickstarter description. "Maybe during this moment of cat-related calm we might have a brilliant thought, or a dumb one or even … spend a moment thinking about nothing at all." 

Remember when we used to do that? That was nice, right? 

In any case, the promise is pretty appealing: "If you help us reach our target, we'll transform a busy commuter platform into a giant festival of cats." 

(This is not to be confused with ads for Cats the musical, which is also advertising its tour as we speak. We know. We saw the ads ourselves … in the Métro, naturally.)

@luckthelady angela.natividad@gmail.com Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.