Cats not ads: London tube station covers billboards with feline photos

The London commute just got really cute thanks to a campaign to replace one station's ads with images of kitties. Why? "To encourage positive (paws-itive?) values in society."

Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
Leslie Katz led a team that explored the intersection of tech and culture, plus all manner of awe-inspiring science, from space to AI and archaeology. When she's not smithing words, she's probably playing online word games, tending to her garden or referring to herself in the third person.
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Leslie Katz
2 min read

Tired of the barrage of advertisements that greet you everywhere you go? Imagine an alternate reality where all ads have been replaced by photos of adorable cats.

You've just entered the Clapham Common tube station in South London.

For the next two weeks, pictures of cats with big round eyes will stare out at you from the spot where ads used to hang. Sixty-eight cat photos in fact. That's a lot of cute for a commute.

The feline appropriation comes courtesy of Glimpse, a new collective of volunteers who say they want to use the power of creativity for good.


"We want to inspire people to think differently about the world and realize they have the power to change it," Glimpse founder James Turner wrote Sunday in a Medium post about the Clapham Common station's meow-velous new look.

The Citizens Advertising Takeover Service (CATS) grew out of a successful Kickstarter campaign. More than 680 backers pledged £23,131 (about $30,845, AU$40,790) to blanket a London Tube station with images of the internet's favorite creatures.

"Back in February we asked ourselves to 'imagine a world where friends and experiences were more valuable than stuff you can buy,'" Turner writes. "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."

What does the internet love more than HTML itself? Anyone who spends time online knows the obvious answer.

As a bonus, some of the cats featured in the subway photos are from Cats Protection, the UK's largest feline welfare charity, and are available for adoption. The CAT site includes a number of links to resources on how to give a rescue cat a new home.

In that sense, the cat photos become advertisements in their own right, though for a cause. But although the campaign has skittered out with a hashtag, #CatsNotAds, Turner insists Glimpse is not aiming for an anti-ad message.

"It's important to say that we're not against advertising," Turner writes in his Medium post. "We need creativity more than ever, to open our eyes to new ways of looking at the world and thinking about our place within it. We want agencies and brands to be mindful of the power they wield and to use it to encourage positive values in society."

Meanwhile, above ground, cats everywhere are celebrating being a step closer to world domination.


Subway selfie with cats, lots and lots of cats.


(Via Metro)