It has probably not escaped your attention that recently the birth was announced of a Royal baby.
Now I’m all for technology as much as the next man but it seems to me some special events should be left to the traditional way we do thing here in Britain. The act of pinning the announcement to a rather flimsy easel by a Buckingham Palace aid was low key and very British.
So when I saw the news broadcast from an illuminated banner on the roof of a London black taxi it seemed to me that was more akin to our colonial colleagues across the water driving yellow checker cabs in New York City.
On a trial approved by TfL 25 London cabs are driving around with digital roof top advertising. TaxiCast claims to be the world’s first regulated and approved illuminated taxi sign. It is a trial which over the next 3 months will deliver 2 million advertisements beamed down to Londoners from their lofty position.
Some advertisers have utilised this very intrusive form of advertising. Magnum ice-creams will miraculously appear when the sun is shining and temperatures rise above 16°C to remind us to eat their products.
All very clever but should the black cab be dragged into the 21st century? Surely much of what makes the ‘iconic’ black cab is that while it is a rather efficient mode of travel its look transports you back to an age of solid dependence and reliability.
First the traditional cab was allowed to be painted in any colour (Henry Ford must have turned in his grave when that was allowed). Next advertising was put on the sides swiftly followed by having the entire vehicle covered with placards. Soon this was not enough and the back window had some very clever membrane adhered to it which was opaque from the outside (allowing yet more bill boards), but the driver could use his rear view mirror.
How much further will this go, drivers wearing the uniforms of their sponsors? The cab is iconic because it is different it doesn’t look like a taxi found in other cities. Being traditionally black roots it firmly within the M25. If our trade, which dates back to the time of Oliver Cromwell, wants to remain distinctive and easily identifiable we should return to black.