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Replace All Ads on the London Underground With Cat Pictures? It Could Happen

A group called C.A.T.S. is raising money to buy the space. What's not to like about that?

Michael Leaverton  |  May 6th 2016


In every major city, everywhere you look: Pictures of things, on ads. People, cars, shoes, deodorant, blenders. Sometimes the pictures are of cats — a cat food company might have wrapped a bus to roll out a new wet food, or a luxurious Persian might be cuddling a $4,000 handbag. But what if the pictures on the ads were all cats? And nothing was for sale?

Such could be the case for a slice of London, deep beneath the ground — a single platform of the London Underground, or maybe even a whole station — if the Citizens Advertising Takeover Service has anything to do with it. And it has everything to do with it. And it’s probably going to do it. And we should help it.

The group — C.A.T.S. — is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to buy all the advertising spots on a platform (or, if the funds come through, a entire station), and replace them with cats. That means when your typical Londoner comes into the tube with his P.D. James and his kidney pie after drinking for 72 hours straight and rioting at the local football stadium — while cradling his newspaper that has actual topless ladies on some of the pages — he’s met with cats as far as his eyes can see (about four feet, until everything goes blurry).

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On its Kickstarter, C.A.T.S lays out its reason for wanting to take over a tube station in brief 12 words: “A) It would look amazing, and B) it’s exhausting being asked to buy stuff all the time.”

Later, it explains more throughly:

We know this is a silly project. But what if we did this around the whole country, or in every major city in the world? Cats everywhere! Dumb, yes, but also this is about trying something, flexing our collective voice in the most idiotic of ways. From all this madness something amazing could happen. Perhaps we’ll start to realise that buying stuff isn’t making us happy. Maybe cats won’t make us happy either, but it’s got to be better than insurance adverts. 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.

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“What are you doing out at this hour? Get off this subway and get home to your cat.”

C.A.T.S made some calls and found out that it would need £20,000 (or about $29,000) to buy all the ads in a platform in a small station, and the cat pics would stay up two to three weeks. The more money it gets, the bigger the station. So far, it’s raised nearly $8,000 of its $33,000 goal, with more than 270 people pledging money thus far. C.A.T.S could make it. If you want to be a part of the kitty takeover, visit the Kickstarter page.

“Wouldn’t it be great not to worry about the holiday we can’t afford, the car we don’t need, or the body we don’t have?” C.A.T.S spokesman James Turner told Newsweek. “Imagine a world where public spaces made you feel confident and calm.“

“We want to claw back from the barrage of advertising that we see every day,” he said.