Creatives: stop complaining about TfL’s ‘Piece of Cake’ campaign. Because you’re wrong.

 In London

For a while I’ve seen people on LinkedIn and Twitter bitching about the following ad that’s running on the Underground. Here’s why I think they need to stop.



Now, the gist of the complaints (which, funnily enough, only seem to be coming from other copywriters and designers) are things like “if you have to use brackets to explain the ad then it clearly doesn’t work” or “there’s no piece of cake in that picture”. Ugh. Stop it.

Here’s the thing though. For people who work in marketing, you sure haven’t been paying a lot of attention; in fact, if you’ve travelled on the Underground AT ALL over the past few months, there’s a strong chance you’ve walked past one or more of these other TfL ads. You’ll notice they ALL follow the same convention as the uniquely controversial ad above —they feature a headline, a stylised roundel, and a bracket.

Sure, it might not be the strongest campaign ever, and there’s a lot of things I’m sure we’d have all done differently—but if I’m honest, I’m quite a fan of these campaigns. Especially the art style of the ‘Delays’ ad above. To me, these adverts communicate the very best of the TfL character — service-led with a huge awareness of brand, but with a personable and friendly side that feels quintessentially British. It’s almost as if I can hear Boris Johnson in my head every time I read those brackets. And really, is that so bad?


Olly Browning
Olly Browning is a freelance writer and designer based in London, founder of the creative agency Mighty Oak. Send your thoughts, hate mail, commissions, or any other business to, or tweet him @yourolly.
Recent Posts