Cabwise From TFL

The Campaign

Cabwise is an initiative from Transport for London which has been around for a while.

Text CAB to 60835* to get the numbers of one taxi and two licensed minicab firms, in the area you are texting from.

SO wherever you are, you can information about a way to get home. The campaign this year is focused on women and the dangers of rape.


There’s also a video which depicts what may happen – and does for some – in a way that they’ve given an age warning of over 15.

The posters are pretty common around town and the video is being pushed via social media. It’s a long-running campaign and this is just the latest incarnation to get the message across. There’s no new or different way of using the online tools, just another shock tactic to try and get the message across and reduce the incident of attacks.

The Pitch

I’d been seeing the posters around for a while but got notified about the video with an email from GoViral. I’d been following the comments over at Katy Lindeman’s blog, where she has posted a couple of time about approaches from Go Viral who are offering to pay her for views for posting a video from Stella Artois, with a follow up post about an email exchange she has had with the company. According to that exchange they are reviewing their T&Cs to make it clear that people who post content from them and receive payment have to disclose it. So I was very surprised to see an email from them without a link to the T&Cs and without a comment in the email about the requirement for openness and transparency when it comes to posting what is paid media. In fact, when I questioned the mailer about the post, including a link to what I had written in The Guardian I got this response:

the issue that Claus is dealing with is a separate one and for a different campaign

The fact that it is a different campaign is irrelevant. The same rules apply to all campaigns and all clients and adding a mention of the responsibilities to the emails is surely good practice and a quick result whilst waiting for the lawyers to update the T&Cs.

I have no problem, in general, with paid for media spreading into social media – as long as the rules are clear and the companies involved are aware of the legal issue and don’t encourage bloggers and other publishers to break the law. As a company, Go Viral should be setting the ground rules with clients and making sure they too are aware of the requirements.

I support the campaign but I’ve not received any payment for this post (I grabbed the video and uploaded it to my YouTube, so I’m not being included in their ‘paid’ results.

This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England License.

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6 Responses to Cabwise From TFL

  1. Katy says:

    GoViral seem to think that as the player says ‘sponsored’ there’s no need for bloggers to highlight anywhere in the post that they’ve been paid to post the video. Therefore they don’t ask you to say it in the post, because they think the player already discloses it. I would argue that it might be compliant but only just. The campaign they’re talking about is the Stella campaign where they offered extra budget for blog posts, comments and tweets, with no mandatory disclosure in the T&Cs (which they can’t claim is covered by the video player, because a tweet or a comment is something entirely separate) which is what they said they hadn’t really considered and should probably think more about. Still doesn’t make the paid video posts any more obviously transparent, but if the player ticks the box then I suppose they’re legally compliant but not especially ethical IMO.

  2. Rachel says:

    I believe that ethically, they should tell the people they’re asking in the email etc. At the moment, I’ve seen no indication they actually understand the issue and are advising clients correctly.

  3. Katy says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I think there’s a difference between compliance and ethics. Doing the bare minimum isn’t enough to cut the mustard IMO

  4. Pingback: When earned media isn’t earned, part III (but paid media raises money for charity) // katy lindemann // seemingly unconnected

  5. tehbus says:

    They approached me with regards to posting for payment. However, I actually see the benefit for this and don’t really see this as an advert as opposed to public awareness so happily posted it on my blog for free, hence no mention of payment.

  6. Rachel says:

    I have no problem with the campaign or posting the video, I fully support that. That’s why I went and found the video on You Tube to post it. The issue is to do with the practices of the outreach company and their understanding of disclosure.