Estate Agent's attempt at urban chic backfires

Foxtons blasted by Anti-Graffiti task force for new livery


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Controversial estate agent Foxtons was in hot water again as anti-graffiti campaigners reacted with dismay to the new livery of their fleet of mini cars. The Chiswick based estate agent has adopted a design based on the tags of a graffiti artist.

John Bownas, chair of the Anti-Graffiti Working Party within the Londonwide Capital Standards Network, described the design as 'irresponsible' saying, "The use of this style of 'graphic design' (I use the phrase loosely) only goes to normalise the sight of graffiti n our streets, and whilst this isn't the first instance of someone trying to promote their products or services with what they mistakenly think is a cool look then I for one certainly hope it will be the last."

The Capital Standards Network aims to improve the environment in the capital by getting borough authorities, the police and groups such as the train operating companies to work together on issues such as graffiti.

The new look for the estate agent's cars was created by Bear Design. Foxton's web site says of the new image, 'Designed as a humorous take on the London transport system Foxton's 350-strong fleet of Mini Coopers have become the latest in urban chic.'

Mr Bownas claims that Foxton's may even be damaging their own customers' interest in adopting the livery, "if there is one thing that is sure to depress property prices in a neighbourhood then it is the prevalence of graffiti tags on local walls and what can have been going through this company's mind when they commissioned this new design? Who is going to trust the sale of their property to an estate agent getting out of a car that looks worse than the side of a badly vandalised train carriage?"

Councillor Martin D Johnson, Cabinet Member for Housing, at Wandsworth Council has written to Peter Rollings, Managing Director of Foxtons saying, "I cannot believe that when potential customers become aware of your endorsement of vandalism, they will not reconsider whether your company is an appropriate choice for their business. I would strongly urge you to rethink this campaign and withdraw the current design."

The estate agent has a fleet of 350 customised minis which according to their web site boast an impressive performance being capable of 0-60 in 9.2 seconds and a top speed of 125mph.

Foxton's recently has attracted criticism from anti-junk mail campaigners for their weekly publication '52' which is delivered unsolicited to many households throughout London.

13th November 2003