Subbing the world

Righting copywriting wrongs, one word at a time

Wake up to rape?

Wake up to rape

I saw this on the Tube recently. It feels almost as if I’m making a joke of it to say this, but I’m really not: isn’t WAKE UP TO RAPE a pretty ill-judged line? For reasons too obvious to require elaboration?

So once again, how did that problem escape everyone involved in this poster?

There are other things to say too, I think. For a start, the picture looks too modelly and posed to be believable. But our focus is on words. And there are too many of them competing on this poster.

It is a poster after all – one that most people march past on their way to the Northern Line. And look at all those competing messages. First we have WAKE UP TO RAPE on the t-shirt, being all disconcerting and weird. (Although to be honest, if it hadn’t caught my eye, I’m not sure I’d have noticed the poster.)

Then we also have that muddle of lines down the bottom, where body copy, call to action and another strapline – Rape happens. Don’t cope with it alone – all rather battle for supremacy.

A shame, because the latter line is quite good: clear, direct, sympathetic. A poster with that line on, maybe a line of supporting copy and a call to action, would probably have had a lot more impact.

Nevertheless, let’s hope this one helps somebody, my belligerent carping notwithstanding.


Filed under: Confusing, Verbiage,

6 Responses

  1. Clare Lynch says:

    Glad it’s not just me that cringes every time I see this poster. Or, rather, thinks “I’d rather have a nice cup of tea.”

    I hadn’t even noticed the second line – which, you’re right, is very powerful.

    Because the “wake up” line is so prominent, I’d always assumed the poster was aimed at the wider population (to make us all aware of the dangers of rape), rather than at victims of rape. After all, if you’ve been raped, presumably you don’t need to “wake up” to it.

    • reedwords says:

      Thanks Claire, and thanks for making the joke for me.

      And you’ve put your finger on the poster’s big problem: it’s trying to do too much. It needs to pick an audience and a message, and stick to it. Point well made.

  2. Brown says:

    Was going to post this on my blog myself but kudos for beating me to it! Who decided this was the way to go with their campaign?

    Agree with you both- if you got rid of the brilliantly ridiculous and ill judged t-shirt and replaced it with that strap line in bigger type they may be onto something.

  3. Spammy says:

    Better to wake up to rape than Capital FM.

  4. Richard Evans-Lacey says:

    ‘Wake up to rape’ … I thought it was a genius advertisement for a rape alarm!

  5. devilsadvocate says:

    “Wake up to rape!”
    better than
    “Wake up to Moyles!”

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