Sony Takes Over London Underground’s Signs

Today sees the exciting launch of the new Playstation 5 console in the UK, and Sony have broken new ground by using  London Underground’s signage as an innovative marketing tool. This is such a great and fresh idea, so here is my take on it…

Signs for a modern approach to marketing

A key reason for investing in signage is to promote your brand. Sony has taken it a step further, to create an advertising and launch campaign using iconic London Underground signs, for just 48 hours to announce the release of their new console.

Some may consider this to be a big spend for such a short amount of time but done brilliantly, in the way it has, creates a huge impact. Replacing these signs draws much more attention than traditional billboard advertising, both on the street as people take notice, and more importantly in this world of internet community and social media it creates an instagrammable moment to share with friends online as people take photos and post on social media. A sign that has been there for years can become part of the furniture. Sony has made a change to draw people’s attention again.

How it was done

The Underground signs at the four exits of Oxford Circus were switched for the triangle, circle, cross and square of the Playstation controller, also the interiors for five stations were transformed overnight.

But the plan would not have been an overnight story. Whilst keeping it under wraps, artwork would have been created for the five sites, linking each station to a game. The bespoke signs were hand-made, a process starting two weeks before the installation date. Possibly the most important part would be getting the correct permissions to work on the night – In a busy area on pavements and inside tube stations in a large city like London, working will require the right permits, planning and health & safety measures thought about in advance.

The signs themselves are enamel rim and return light boxes, a similar construction we use for illuminated letters. To achieve the same effect, we would make the sides and a rim on the face out of metal, with acrylic fronts with coloured vinyl applied. This would be illuminated with internal LEDs. The fixing brackets have been made to fit the existing brackets – to allow the signs to be switched and switched back with ease.

Wall wrap cast vinyl has been utilised to transform the inside of the stations as their game namesakes – Ratchet & Clankaster Gate, Miles (Morales) End, Horizon Forbidden West Ham and Gran Turismo 7 Sisters.

Innovation with signs in advertising

This is not new ground for Sony. In 2013, for the PS4 launch, they took over London’s OXO tower, replacing the sign with the controller symbols in a similar way to Oxford Circus. It just goes to show what can be achieved with the right sign contractor. Sony have set the bar to find new and exciting ways to use signs, so let’s start thinking about the next great advertising stunt.

Take a bow Sony, we applaud your use of signs to stand out and make people notice. Making signs that help people stand out is what we do at GEETEE. Take a look at the rest of our website for more details.