Minding manners

Manners poster, London, 2008

Different town, different ideas about public behavior. While I don’t want to smell anyone’s odors (fragrance, bodily, or foodie), the declaration that “smelly food” will be avoided was surprising to me. It’s a rather specific act that I hadn’t really thought about before.

We had a good conversation about this poster today at the BBC. I talked about social norms, and how one tactic to changing behavior is to help more people do something, so that those who choose not to do it are clearly on the outside. They shared the history of these posters, where the specific things being avoided by the characters are not new, but instead of the previous version where a blue-text-on-white authoritative voice warned that smelly food and other actions were prohibited, this has shifted to a more inclusive collective voice – “together.”

It’s also a story about following the rules (for the greater good) rather than not following the rules.

Update: another poster from the campaign here.

See more of my London and Sheffield pictures here.


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