Monday, 20 September 2010

General Comment - Barclays' Bike Hire Grafitti

As regular readers will know, investment-auto-motives was never an advocate of the London bike hire scheme - initiated by Mayor Johnson and latterly sponsored by Barclays. Concerns about the ultimate cost relative to actual use - ie project pounds spent relative to cycled hours - were depicted in a previous web-log item last year.

Whilst the scheme itself could not be condoned, the recent spate of cynical, aggitational grafitti that has appeared on the rear wheel spats of many bikes must surely be rejected by any 'right thinking citizen' - private aswell as corporate.

The intendedly subtle yet high impact campaign involves the use of the swear word 'f**k', placed above the Barclays logo in a near corporate script style.

This may be viewed as 'direct action' activism or some such, seeing the bank as both (retail bank) 'bail-out' recipient and (investment bank) profiteer, but the reality is that in present circumstances the investment bank section will have to perform as
the starter-motor for the entire organisation and indeed whole British (and elsewhere) economy.

No doubt a distasteful truism for many over-idealistic individuals and groups, but the reality that all banks - not just Barclays - must now consider how best to responsibly act as the central components in re-generating the national and international wealth model that mixed economies depend upon.

The perpetrators of such acts should perhaps think far more broadly about how to realistically resolve economic and financial matters. To paraphrase President Lincoln "He only has the right to criticise, if he also has the heart to help".

Wittily ascribed grafitti does indeed have a role to play in society; perhaps best epitomised by Banksy and others regards the evidently negative aspects of modern society. But such 'art' is not only far more imaginative but by being so carries far deeper reflections and sends pertinant messages into the viewers psyche and across society.

In itself then, this act has done not only the nation a dis-service, but a dis-service to the UK tradition of socially important grafitti. Thus whilst the more juvenile-minded may find it funny, it certainly isn't clever, and if anything for Barclays simply underpins the adage that there is no such thing as bad PR.