London’s pair of big ears!

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Its not boobs, its not balls, neither is it coconuts! Its a pair of ears! And a big pair of ears it is too! Before we move on let me tell you its nothing to do with Grandma or the big bad wolf. Dont get the wrong end of the stick. Its not what you think. Its about an advert in Central London which I found interesting and its one that has an important message.

London certainly has some unusual advertising, its not something done on the scale other countries do such as the US for example because most of it on this small island of ours is simple billboard advertising. Where there is the space and the creativity (here at this location I am about to discuss – even Clerkenwell Road by the junction with Goswell Road, Old Street, Clapham Junction and elsewhere) unusual adverts often will manifest.

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Contractors lifting one of the large ears into place. Source: You Tube

The huge ears can be seen on an advert entitled ‘Grow a pair’ on the side wall of 337 Euston Road, just to the west of Warren Street tube station, the premises being the rear portion of the Vietnamese cafe on Warren Street itself.

I saw this advert for the first time and ignored it, as having just glanced the ears, had thought it was something advertising hearing aids and wasn’t of interest at all to me.

However the next time our bus crawled past (traffic merging along here is slow at times) the advert stood out more and it became obvious the advertising was about mental health, not hearing aids! A decision was made to come back the next day to take some pictures.

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The advert in question rendered in full (my own work recreating it!)

The advert was put up on about the 8th May in readiness for mental health awareness week 2019 – which starts today (13/05/2019.) Its message is about the need to help men under 45 in terms of mental health, for suicide is their biggest killer. The campaign is by CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) in partnership with SEAT, a Spanish car manufacturer. I would think the location is in particular meant to reach out to the many young motorists who find themselves driving along the Euston and Marylebone Roads, as well as maybe even on a bus or simply just walking past.

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Contractors working on site. Source: You Tube

These roads can be slow moving and very stressful too, just as other main London routes are too, so the advert may give people time to think and reflect, and the need for listening to others in need is important. There are many universities and university accommodations in the locality (Westminster University for example has several campuses and student halls in the immediate area) and there are many young people about the area (they could also be tourists or visitors too) thus the site also has a potential target consisting of many male students who are locally based.

Its only recently the location has started to be used for advertising, certainly within the past year. This is perhaps the second or third advert here. What was until about early 2018 was a plain wall, before someone clearly realised the attractiveness of this prime location.

After all within the last couple of years great big electronic adverts have been installed at both entrances to the Euston underpass just a short distance nearby. These huge billboards light up the area considerably at night and simply cannot be missed. Obviously the rationale at the time when these giant billboards were built was, if you cant beat them, join them!

And that is how London got a new advertising location – one that now comes with a pair of big ears!

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Google Streets view showing the site in the centre of the picture – with a plain wall – in early 2018.

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A view of the ‘Grow a pair’ advert with the Telecom Tower visible.

A pair of big ears they may be, but let’s not forget there is a serious message to be had. As has been pointed out this is mental health awareness week and clearly both CALM and SEAT wanted this advert to be eye catching – and capture people’s attention, getting them to think and reflect. Even offer a lifeline to someone they may know is badly in need of one.

The rationale behind the advertising is, as CALM and SEAT have explained thus:

We’ve taken “Grow a pair” – a negative phrase often used to tell someone to “man up” – and turned it into a positive statement about starting important conversations with mates. Consequently, “Grow a pair” encourages men in the UK to think differently about mental health and move forward into a new period of open and positive conversation.

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View of the advert from the centre island on Euston Road with its important message quite prominent.

Seat has this page about the advert here and explaining why it was set up plus a video showing contractors putting the advert in place.

CALM’s main page is currently about the ‘Grow a pair’ campaign.

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