27 October 2010
Roller bus!
Brian Micklethwait

Without doubt the strangest transport related picture I’ve taken in London in recent months was this:


That’s a rather ancient Rolls Royce, not a bus!

Later, I took a closer look at what it says on the door there:


And all was revealed.  Here‘s the website.  Recommended to all who like ladies in stockings and suspenders.

Is there a serious point to this?  Any serious point?  Well, perhaps that “transport” doesn’t just mean enterprises that are devoted wholly to transport, but also enterprises whose main focus is something completely other than transport, but who nevertheless get involved in transport, as part of the process of creating a satisfactory package-product for their customers.

Or maybe: that vehicles are increasingly being used to advertise such mostly-not-transport enterprises.  There’s nothing like a seriously weird vehicle meandering around its native city, with a big sign on it that makes little immediate sense but which sticks in the mind (while also making sure to include mention of a www dot something), to get people talking, and googling, and even blogging.

In this connection, I don’t think that me being able to photo this weird contraption is incidental either.  Cameras are not just things to snap pretty and artistic scenes with.  They are machines for taking notes, quickly, in a way that wouldn’t work nearly so well with pens and notebooks.  Moving vehicles, by their nature, are come and gone quickly.  Typically there isn’t time to read what they say on them, let alone identify the salient bits and write them down.  But there is time to photo them, and read about it all later.  It’s not just the internet.  The internet combined with cheap cameras, especially cameras in phones of course, have also helped to change how advertising works, and in particular how adverts work which are on the sides of lorries or vans or cars.

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