Finding the Truth: Out-Of-Home Advertising in the London Underground

In two weeks I begin a dissertation-linked placement with Truth Consulting, a cultural marketing strategist situated in Gresham Street, London. Truth specialise in innovation and branding and work towards combining a knowledge of consumer culture with the world of commerce. I look forward to getting to know industry professionals at Truth, learning about the processes involved in building/improving brands, and combining some of Truth’s ways of thinking with my own research on out-of-home advertising.

Outdoor Advertising

It has sometimes been suggested that outdoor advertisements, or at least the traditional forms, are a dying media. Critics have argued that with digital advertising on the rise, outdoor media is surely a less favourable option. However, consumers spend 70% of their waking hours away from home, dwelling, walking, riding and driving around the built environment of cities and towns. So, surely, these consumers are exposed regularly to outdoor advertising. Outsmart, the UK’s leading outdoor media organisation, even suggest that we are in the “golden age of Out of Home (OOH)” with 98% of the UK population reached by OOH advertising.

My Focus

So where will my work fit in? 

I aim to supplement the current literature on outdoor advertising by exploring one location in detail. This location, the London Underground, will be studied by researching the relationship between pedestrians, mobility and outdoor advertisements. The affects generated by outdoor media in the London Underground will be explorealdwychtube2209a.jpgd from the perspective of the pedestrians themselves. Truth’s knowledge on producing customer journey maps will hopefully supplement my approach to research.

Through focusing on mobility within the London Underground I hope to explore how outdoor media are carefully engineered to appeal to specific consumers. For example, when a pedestrian stops at the platform they tend to dwell in the same space for a moment so advertisements are lengthier and use more text. But in places of movement (e.g. the escalator) advertisements use highly visual graphics with few words.

My dissertation research aims to go beyond these crude understandings of the underground’s outdoor media to a much deeper knowledge.


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