Beijing Subway Ads – Branding Unreality, Achieving the Tragicomic

Beijing Subway has launched a print ad campaign to promote its service as being the most convenient option to get you to your destination in the shortest time.

The work By Grey Beijing features three print ads featuring different characters that one would normally associate with being in need of getting where they’re going quickly.

Michael Weber, writing over at The Beijinger has a different take on it –calling the campaign’s distortion of reality “tragicomic.”


We love the Beijing Subway as much as the next guy, and we’re glad to see that the system appears to have enlisted the help of some talented ad men to try to uplift its image into the modern era.

But the campaign has two problems that will immediately strike a chord with local commuters: (1) the sad reality that it is not the habit of local motorists to get out of the way for ambulances and fire trucks, and (2) the unlikelihood that any normal subway passenger has ever seen the subway this devoid of shoving, jostling crowds.

You can read the rest of Weber’s amusing take here.

Carry on.



Advertising Agency:Grey, Beijing, China
Executive Creative Director:Alvin Lim
Creative Directors:Marx Zhu, He Jun
Art Directors:Marx Zhu, Yang Jianfeng
Copywriter:Alvin Lim
Creative Services Director:Kevin Bi
Traffic Manager:Jane Li
Managing Director:Oliver Xu
Account Manager:Afra Hou
Production House:Mulberry
Photographer:Matjaž Tančič
Retouchers:Hei Zi, Xu Yuanming

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