London cabbies were bemused Thursday at claims that an ad campaign promoting the end to the blockade of Qatar was supposedly created to show solidarity by taxi drivers.
Speaking to cabbies in South Kensington, outside the Harrods department store and at the busy cab rank at Paddington Station, Arab News was told by drivers that they have “nothing to do with what goes on the sides of the cabs,” and that they pay little attention to “whatever advertising” happens to be splashed across their sides.
None of the cabbies interviewed around the city had heard of the campaign, which according to media reports was organized in solidarity with Qatar.
The London Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) said: “This is not something that the LTDA is able to comment on as the LTDA (does) not control what members have on their taxis.”
The cabs carrying the slogans proved elusive on the streets of the capital today, despite footage of them circulating on social media.
Across London, cabbies said they had not seen any taxis with the Qatar ad, nor did they recognize it, raising questions as to whether it was merely a short-term PR stunt.
In Edgware Road, near Marble Arch, where taxis featuring the Qatar ads were initially snapped for promotional pictures, some local shopkeepers and waiters said they had seen the cabs on launch day, but not since.
On Twitter, the taxi PR stunt provoked an amused reaction, with one Twitterati flagging other ad campaigns as a tongue-in- cheek way of supposedly showing London cabs being in solidarity with a range of companies.
Taxi advertising is known to be a strong PR tool on London’s streets, with companies ranging from fast food to clothing, banks and airlines all using the medium.
“A taxi can be a powerful PR tool. Whether you’re ferrying VIPs and guests to and from venues or looking to arrive in style at a prestigious event, a branded taxi can help you stand out from the crowd and communicate your message in style!” says the London Taxi Advertising company.
In a report on the Qatari owned news channel, Al Jazeera Arabic, a reporter recently suggested that London cab drivers have recently called for the lifting of the measures imposed against Qatar.
Last month, an anti-terror quartet of Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain) decided to cut off ties with Qatar over its ties to terror groups.