Coronavirus: The posters spreading kindness across London

By Alice Rizzo
BBC News

  • Published
BillboardImage source, Jack Arts
Image caption,
Advertising campaign poster to boost morale of Londoners during lockdown

The UK is currently under lockdown and as a result streets are eerily empty.

But in the past few days avenues and roads have been been waking up to heart-warming greetings in a poster campaign.

"Be kind. Let's look out for one another" is emblazoned on 560 billboards in vivid colours.

Originally designed for London, the "Community is Kindness" campaign has now spread outside the capital to ease fears about the coronavirus pandemic.

"I was struck by the boldness of it, it made me feel warm, and the message is bang on point," said Jim, after seeing a poster in Hackney Wick.

Flora was on her way to the shops when she walked past a billboard.

"I saw it very early in the morning on a particularly grey stretch of road in East London and the colours caught my eye.

" I felt it was a timely and valuable sentiment, and especially appealing as there was no obvious branding."

Khaly Nguyen of Jack Arts, the agency which created and funded the campaign, said: "We wanted to do something to help the community and keep spirits up."

Image source, Instagram
Image caption,
Actor Russell Tovey received thousands of 'likes' after he uploaded a picture of himself standing in front of a poster

A new series of posters called "Your Space or Mine?" to spotlight artists and keep Londoners inspired while self-isolating at home, is now covering billboards.

The first one up is by Mark Titchner, a Turner Prize nominee based in London, whose work often features on billboards and other public spaces across the city.

Initially designed in 2012, his "PLEASE BELIEVE" posters then reappeared during the 2016 referendum, when it took a completely different meaning.

Image source, Jack Arts
Image caption,
The moral boosting posters around London are part of an advertising agency's campaign to spread a sense of community

Inspiring prints are not new. According to the Imperial War Museum when Britain prepared for World War Two, the country took a similar approach.

Part of a series of three posters, including 'Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution; Will Bring Us Victory' and 'Freedom is in Peril; Defend it with all Your Might' the words "Keep Calm And Carry On" were produced by the British government to raise the morale of the British public, threatened with mass air attacks on major cities.

Although the design, featuring Lord Kitchener, was rolled out to various distribution centres, it was never actually shown but the other two were.