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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Election signs: prenez la ligne orange

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While SpacingMontreal doesn’t officially endorse any particular political party during elections, we do, however, often focus on election signs when they inevitably spring up during election time and discuss various topics surrounding them, usually their effect on public space (Christopher DeWolf’s article, directly below, being an example).  This evening’s rain storm forced my bike and I onto the Metro and, upon exiting my train at Jean-Talon station, I was greeted by this election ad for the NDP on the wall.

This ad in particular is notable for many reasons, the first being that it is just incredibly clever.  The use of the Metro map, a very familiar sight for Metro riders, to take you through the party’s platform and talking points, with their logo as the terminus, is an ingenious way to get riders’ attention and to clearly articulate their message.  Using the orange line is an obvious but nonetheless effective part of the ad.  Finally, the tag-line “Suivez la voie du changement, prenez la linge orange” pretty much exhausts the metaphor but is again, very effective.

Another thing I appreciate about this ad is that it is completely Montreal-centric in its presentation.  The use of the Metro imagery, playing off the STM’s use of colour to distinguish different lines and using Montreal’s system of terminating lines with the terminus name are all fairly specific to the Montreal Metro.  Furthermore, it shows that the NDP, in using Montreal-specific imagery, intends to be a serious contender in a city that until the recent by-election in the riding of Outremont, has generally ignored the party, opting instead for the Bloc or Liberals.

This isn’t the first time advertisers have used the Metro map in advertising campaigns.  A recent example was posted here last March for a brand of gum extending the Metro lines to far away destinations to demonstrate how long the gum’s flavour apparently lasts.  The post also makes mention of past advertisements that employed the same idea, likely, with a great deal of success.



  1. it’s definitely catchy & they win points for relating well to Montrealers.

    now if I can only bring myself to vote for them…

  2. I noticed that sign today! It’s so damn clever, I’m definitely loving it. :D
    It’s actually refreshing to see.

  3. The NDP must be congratulatde on their very creative marketing. This is what we need more of on the bland concrete walls of the Metro.

    Do you know if the NDP would be in favour of expanding and improving the Metro system? If so, I may consider giving them my vote.

  4. MTLskyline: The NDP announced more than $590 million for public transit in the Montreal area, to come from existing gas taxes and from the revenue from its cap-and-trade plan for big polluters. So yes, in favour of expanding the metro (although just how to expand the metro is of course a provincial and municipal responsibility).

  5. These posters are awesome! The ad firm the New Democrats have for this election are really very good.

    As for MTLslyline’s question, Jack Layton does have an ambitious transit investment plan. He was out making transit announcements all over the country this summer.

    The Mtl one is here:

  6. … although I see one mistake, or at least inconsistency: Alexandre Boulerice’s NDP posters in my riding (Rosemont/Petit-Patrie) feature a fleur-de-lys in the “D,” balancing the maple leaf at left.

    If that is how the party is branding itself in Quebec, it should be on this Montreal-specific ad. If it’s not, it shouldn’t be on Boulerice’s poster, I should think, if only from the point of view of consistent branding.

  7. Elizabeth May must be kicking herself for not beating them to it with a Green line ad…

    I’m trying not to read anything into the fact that both the Green and Orange lines broke down in the last couple of days.

  8. That’s “godless communists” to you.

  9. Yes! I definitely did a thorough double-take when I saw these ads at Mont-Royal station. I was left with the feeling that the NDP really does give a damn about my neighbourhood and city. Very clever. Indeed, public transit is one of the most important issues for me this election.
    I will still be voting Green and hoping for Dion as PM.

  10. I noticed one of these ads during the Orange line’s horrendous service outage this past week & thought the timing was pretty unfortunate (though funny in retrospect).

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