Disaster! Someone contacts us to congratulate us that our mural boards are going up… Unfortunately, they are not our mural boards but big advertising hoardings. TfL and Primesight have signed a big contract!
We contact TfL – it’s a mix-up. We begin to run around like headless chickens trying to get the decision reversed. According to Campaign magazine, the deal is huge: “the most valuable out-of-home contract in Europe – the estimated £1 billion, eight-year deal to handle advertising on the Tube…. the jewel of UK outdoor. At £150 million a year, it represents about 15 per cent of annual outdoor ad revenues in the UK – and some think it could generate as much as £250 million a year by the end of the eight-year contract.”
We are clearly a tiny fly on the windscreen – or as the local media report ‘Babes in the Wood.’ Our contact at TfL has also been surprised by the situation, as she had checked with the relevant department. We escalate like mad and hope that our one little bridge can be posthumously excluded from the deal.
We look at our designs and try to work out whether we could drop half of it, give back half the money to sponsors, tell half the artists they haven’t made the cut, unpick the copyright agreements we have made with archives and image rights holders… We are miserable and stressed.
After 6 weeks of panicking, TfL pull out the stops and make it happen. The boards come down, the space looks terrible again. We are astonished and grateful. But it is clear that there is quite some pressure now to make the mural really special!