For one week, London’s Bond Street station was renamed ‘Burberry Street’ to advertise the fashion house of the same name. It caused outrage and shows how public spaces are increasingly being used to aggressively advertise.
Commuters in London were left confused last week when Bond Street station was changed to ‘Burberry Street’ in collaboration with the fashion house of the same name.
Complaints were sent to TfL by travellers who were befuddled during their journeys. Anonymous staff members said that customers had reported missing their stops, with one commenting to the New York Times, ‘I heard all different things, but nothing positive unfortunately.’
Bond Street’s name change was quite extensive, too. Signs on the platform were swapped out, as well as travel maps by escalators and the outside sign on the high street.
Introducing #Burberry Street 👀 ✨
Visit Bond Street until 19 September to see… pic.twitter.com/pz5VqALKJa
— TfL (@TfL) September 15, 2023
This advertisement change seemed to be particularly confusing, as Burberry sounds like it could be a real stop.
Bond Street is also right by Oxford Street, which is a hotspot for tourists and one-time visitors. How are unfamiliar train-goers expected to know they’re at the right platform when all the directional signs are presenting blatant misinformation?
The unanimous backlash and deserved criticism exemplifies London’s growing problem with increasingly invasive advertisement. As Zoe Williams from The Guardian writes, the Burberry Street fiasco is evidence of ‘corporation creep’, whereby public spaces are treated as marketing opportunities rather than communal services that aid public life.