The West Rail Ring

[youtube][/youtube] This new ad for the recent extension of the Hong Kong MTR’s West Rail Line, which now runs from Tsim Sha Tsui all the way out to Tuen Mun, via the farm fields, housing estates and wife cakes of Yuen Long, straddles a line between parallel traditions of public transit advertising: the earnest and […]

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J’vous emmene?

[youtube][/youtube] It’s got nothing on Il fait beau dans l’métro, but this 1985 TV spot certainly ranks up there in the pantheon of kitschy transit ads. What kind of bugs me about it is that the metro is taking this very fashionable couple from their living room to a restaurant and a swimming pool, yet […]

Doot doot doot! Doot doot doot!

[youtube]xM1bQt-6y6w[/youtube] I’ve already written about transit ads in Montreal, Paris and Milwaukee. Now it’s time for Hong Kong. With several competing bus companies and a metro system that is constantly being expanded, Hong Kong is in many ways a public transit user’s paradise. That can be seen in the regularity with which the company that […]

Il fait beau dans l’métro

[youtube]DcC31r1BxBY[/youtube] (I first posted about Il fait beau dans l’métro last April. Today, an article was published with a more in-depth look at the advertisement.) A troupe of exuberant dancers isn’t what most commuters expect when they descend into the métro. But there they were, in Il fait beau dans l’métro, an iconic 1976 television […]

“When I’m in Milwaukee…”

[youtube]3kCvvjzMxeo[/youtube] When I think of George Takei, I think about a couple of his two most famous roles: that of Hikaru Sulu, the helmsman of Star Trek‘s USS Enterprise, and that of gay rights and Asian-American activist. Spokesperson for Milwaukee public transit does not necessarily come to mind. But, sure enough, after my last post […]

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Il fait beau dans l’métro!

[youtube]rn6mmGUHE9M[/youtube] Watching these old advertisements—one from the 1980s for the Paris metro and another from the 1970s for the Montreal metro—leave me with mixed feelings. My initial reaction is to ridicule them for their kitschiness (or kétainerie, as one might say here in Quebec) but, at the same time, I feel a slight pang of […]