Transport for London (TfL) has admitted that last year’s temporary brand takeover of Bond Street tube station was confusing for passengers and wasn’t handled as well as it could have been.

(c) Burberry

Parts of Bond Street station became Burberry Street station for a few days in September as part of London Fashion Week, but the brand takeover of the station caused a lot of complaints from people who said it was confusing to passengers.

That was in part because the brand takeover was larger than had been done at other stations and even included external signage.

Speaking at the London Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee just before Christmas, TfL’s Commissioner, Andy Lord confirmed that while several operational mitigations were put in place to assist customers, they weren’t consistently delivered.

He said that TfL has carried out a review into the brand takeover at the station, and the findings are to be fed into any further equivalent scheme should they have the right commercial opportunity in the future.

Branded takeovers of stations are a contentious topic, as the commercial opportunity can conflict with legible wayfinding in stations for customers to know where they are. However, the Burberry takeover caused more complaints than others in the past.

In part that’s because this was a much larger takeover of the Bond Street station than had happened before, but there have been other brand activations that have, if anything, raised a smile — such as the Star Trek rebranding of Piccadilly Circus, Gareth Southgate station, or the Playstation at Oxford Circus. The change of Barbican for the Barbie movie was applauded as clever marketing by the film, even after it turned out to be a fan’s unauthorised tweaking of the tube roundels and not the film company paying TfL for it.

However, these were all consumer brands that people are fond of. Burberry, while very popular with its own customers, is a luxury brand that few of the average tube passenger can afford to shop at, and a luxury brand taking over a piece of public transport seemed to grate with some commentators.

TfL can’t comfortably turn down the offer of advertising money – especially as TfL earned £200,000 from the 5-day deal, and Andy Lord confirmed that “where we think there is a real good opportunity that meets our brand values and delivers financial benefit than we would obviously consider it.”

So, yes, there will be more brand logos in tube stations in the future.

As TfL isn’t going to be blocking brand activations in the future, Mr Lord confirmed to the Assembly members that future advertising campaigns will have “much better signage and awareness ahead of the launch, but more importantly, on the day and the launch, through announcements by our train operators, through signage and announcements in stations”

During the rebranding takeover, he also visited the station and saw for himself that some customers were confused. He said that TfL would do better while still delivering the ” commercial and brand proposition”.


Be the first to know what's on in London, and the latest news published on ianVisits.

You can unsubscribe at any time from my weekly emails.

Tagged with: ,

This website has been running now for over a decade, and while advertising revenue contributes to funding the website, it doesn't cover the costs. That is why I have set up a facility with DonorBox where you can contribute to the costs of the website and time invested in writing and research for the news articles.

It's very similar to the way The Guardian and many smaller websites are now seeking to generate an income in the face of rising costs and declining advertising.

Whether it's a one-off donation or a regular giver, every additional support goes a long way to covering the running costs of this website, and keeping you regularly topped up doses of Londony news and facts.

If you like what you read on here, then please support the website here.

Thank you

  1. Brian Butterworth says:

    So, yet to logotype and colours (like PlayStation), but no to actually changing the letters in the station name?

  2. Peter Gresswell says:

    The Tube (and TfL) is a branding mess anyway. It needs a wholesale rethink by someone of the calibre of Johnson, although one suspects there’s no one in the TfL design team (with power to act anyway) who would be able to do anything worthwhile.

    • Noam BLEICHER says:

      Really? It’s one of the most consistently and universally branded systems in the world. We just need to iron out confusing things like there being two Edgware Road stations.

    • JSR says:

      Their brand is one of the most recognisable in the world. There was a good article about it on Londonist a short while ago:

    • ChrisC says:

      Johnson as ex Mayor Johnson?

      Even he would realise there would be zero benefits to changing one of the most recognised logos in the world.

      It would cost a small fortune to change every single sign acoss the network where the logo appears.

      Ridiculous idea.

    • Johnson says:

      I wouldnt say its a mess, but it’s certainly far more confusing since Crossrail was delivered with an underground line name, its own roundel, separate station entrances and standalone architectural identity. Rationalising branding across the network, removing as many ‘exceptions to the rule’ as possible and developing a clear strategy for the future is particularly important if Crossrail 2 goes ahead.

  3. Keith Barber says:

    I visited bond street to do a YouTube video of this and even viewers of my channel were confused

    It was a major error on tfl’s part and I’m glad they are taking heed of the backlash

  4. John Pulteney says:

    It was clumsy. Could have been mitigated, if not sorted out completely buy just popping ‘For Bond Street’ on the signs.

    • Jen says:

      The other way round, maybe? Visitors (and some locals) were baffled by signs that said Burberry Street at all. “BOND STREET for Burberry Street” might have made it clearer to everyone.

  5. MilesT says:

    “wasn’t handled as well as it could have been.”

    This ought to read

    “wasn’t handled as well as it **should** have been.”

    The change is subtle but significant, in terms of taking ownership for the problem.

  6. Rexogamer says:

    i think part of the reason stuff like picadilly circus or the fan barbican rename went down well is because, while different and fun references, they were still very clearly related to their regular names. “barbiecan” would probably register very quickly to most people as a pun based on the movie; “burberry street” sounds nothing like bond street and also sounds like a plausible name for a station. glad they’re learning from this because it was ill advised to say the least.

  7. Blake says:

    I’ve changed at Bond Street probably more than anywhere else and even I got confused enough to nearly miss my stop, so I can’t imagine what it was like for tourists who were new to London.

    I think perhaps it was the fact that both the name had changed (and wasn’t an obvious pun on ‘Bond’) and the colours along the platform had changed to make it look unfamiliar as well. With my headphones on and not paying too much attention to the journey as I was on the same routine as ever, suddenly being presented with something that was that different just threw me.

  8. NG says:

    I blame the tories for their sustained & vicious campaign against London in general & Khan/TfL in particular, starving the capital’s transport system of money.
    Khan may be an idiot, but the spite from our misgovernment is remarkable.
    If it was not for the above, this ridiculous piece of confusion & misinformation would not have happened

    • Reaper says:

      So Kahn the Destroyer and his team of TfL muppets bear no responsibility for this farce, Realy? Which planet let alone which city are you living on? Clearly one where management responsibility is an unknown concept.

  9. James says:

    Almost as good as the Roundel signs at Norwood Junction that they installed saying “THIS IS CROYDON”. Who does that?

  10. Nigel says:

    Where’s Frank Pick when you need him?

  11. Em says:

    £200k for five days mass advertising is a bargain. TFL need to review their revenue managers

  12. MR D S BLEICHER says:

    Further suggestions for rebranding London Uberground stations:
    Lidlpool Street
    Kings Cross St Primark
    Turnham Greggs
    Paddypower Circus

    • Sarah says:

      Paddypower Circus is too much of a change and would cause the same confusion as Burberry Street. How about Paddyngton? Oh, Paddington is already a company name. What if TFL threaten to change the name unless the company start paying?

      Crocs have a lot of choice, maybe they can rename multiple stations at once: Kings Crocs St Pancras, Charing Crocs, Brent Crocs, New Crocs Gate, Crocsharbour

  13. James says:

    Only £200k?!
    I’m amazed there’s not a 0 missing.
    I’d guess it cost more than that in TfL staff time to arrange and administer it (unless that is the net figure?).
    * acknowledging my uninformed status and limited info/research. Open to being educated.

    • ChrisC says:

      You could always put in a FoI request in for a breakdown.

      People have done it previously for other similar campaigns.

      But the vast majority of that £200k is profit. The cost of the vinyls and staff time would be a small proportion of that.

  14. Reaper says:

    Having had two posts deleted today,each of which criticised the London Mayor its clear to see which way the wind is blowing here.

    • ianVisits says:

      The only posts I delete are offensive ones – you are free to critice policies, but keep the language civil while you’re doing it. If you want to be rude about people, go somewhere else.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Home >> News >> Transport News