TfL denies existence of Gymbox ‘first ever’ bus top ad

TfL denies existence of Gymbox ‘first ever’ bus top ad

Global and Transport for London (TfL) have denied that an ad circulated online and previously reported in The Media Leader, and other publications, is on either of their systems.

The Gymbox ad for aerial pilates and yoga classes claimed to be the first bus top ad in London, with the gym chain’s marketing director claiming to have come up with the idea while doing an aerial class himself.

However, there is no record that the ad in fact exists, according to Global and TfL. The image of the ad circulated to press (main image) is in fact a mockup of a 2019 stock image which can be found online.

The claim that the ad itself was the first to be placed on top of a bus is also erroneous. For example, an ad campaign from The Economist that ran decades ago placed an ad atop a London bus. The Guardian has also run a campaign on top of a bus, according to a Global spokesperson.

Public relations agency Cut the Bull, which circulated a press release of the Gymbox campaign, has been contacted for comment. Before publication of the original story, which has been deleted, they confirmed when asked that “all the creative and [media] buying was done in house”.

A spokesperson for TfL told The Media Leader that even if the Gymbox campaign had existed, it would not be able to run as it would obscure the number on the bus roof, which is visible for security purposes like police and TfL tracking. The Media Leader also understands London buses now have reflective roofs to help diffuse heat, which means bus-top ads are no longer possible.

Fake out-of-home (OOH) advertisements have been circulating regularly online in recent weeks, marrying fake digitally-created activations with real world locations to create earned media value through social media virality.

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