I think the people at LA Metro were trying to go for all of the visual science tropes in one cliché-filled glance! I’m a big fan of LA Metro, as you know from several posts about it here, so don’t misunderstand my poking fun at their ad I spotted on a bus stop bench. I think it is to do with helpful apps for your phone – presumably they help you use the system more easily, because of…science? More generally, I’d love to believe that people will take the train more because scientists are involved in designing the logistics, but there’s so much evidence against this on both counts, like having the Blue line and the Expo line – that share the same main platform – both boast BLUE as their colours. But put that all aside for now, and let’s simply count off all the sure-fire imagery that will guarantee a “sciency” legitimacy for your ad:
- Reassuring-looking authority-figure (i.e. caucasian older gentleman)? Check. (As a hat tip to progress, they have balanced things out with a woman, so… yay. Perhaps the guy is her assistant…)
- Bow tie? Check. (It is such a shame that bow ties have become such a tedious scientist cliche because I love wearing bow ties. Sigh.)
- Equations and diagrams that somehow look important and make everything look “smart”? Check.
- Lab coats? Check. (ARE THEY BEING WORN TO PROTECT AGAINST INK STAINS?!!! I’ve come to accept that a lab coat is a scientist symbol that we cannot avoid, no matter how ridiculous. We need to get over it. But sometimes, it is just so comically silly…)
- Clip board? Check. (Sigh… I fondly remember the days of around 2007 when almost all the students working with me in “cvjlab” had clipboards as sort of a joke. I very nearly went all Steve Zissou and got hats and t-shirts made…..)
Strangely missing: Lots of pens in a top pocket. Somebody should be fired for not including that.