Cats on the Common

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Clapham Common tube station has this week been overrun by cats. And no, it’s not an army of strays or a mass escape plan from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home- although come to think of it that would be awesome. It is in fact in the form of plastering nearly every single advertising space throughout the station with images of our furry feline friends, with the hashtag #catsnotads.

Powered by “The Citizens Advertising Takeover” (CATS- I like what they did there), the organisation actually behind all of this is called Glimpse. Their manifesto is rooted in making people think a little differently about the world around them, and inspiring a drive for positive change. They want to use creativity for good, as rightly it should be.

Glimpse ran a Kickstarter campaign that swiftly raised over £20,000 to replace a London tube station with something good. But they also needed it to catch people’s attention- and what’s the one thing that the world loves more than ads? Cats of course. The result is an incredibly impressive blanketing of cats throughout the station, that’s seen me witness more than one double take in the last two days, and a whole lot of smiles. I have to admit, it’s much nicer than the usual plethora of insurance, travel and burger joint ads that I usually whizz past on my daily commute.

It also genuinely seems like it’s not just a big publicity stunt that’s masking some big brand with a corporate goal, or even an attempts for Glimpse to gain five minutes of fame themselves. Dig a little deeper into the motives behind the movement, and you’ll find out that a majority of the cats featured are actually from Cat Protection and Battersea Dogs & Cats home, the takeover being used as a way of encouraging people to re-home, or sponsor an animal.

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Whilst #catsnotads might seem like a big statement against the establishment, supposedly Glimpse are not against advertising per se, but more about reminding the ad world and all those who are a part of it that the work they do is a powerful, and that maybe such a powerful platform could, and should, be used more creatively, and for doing more good.

And if I’m honest, I have to agree with them.