Creative agency Don’t Panic is encouraging London’s pedestrians to “stick it to the man” – quite literally. Since the noughties, Don’t Panic has been sparking political debate with its provocative posters aimed at confronting socio-political and cultural issues, initially distributed as “Don’t Panic packs” across the UK’s universities, clubs, bars and shops. Now, riled up by Boris Johnson’s appointment as the Prime Minister tasked with steering the UK through the murky waters of Brexit, it has “unleash[ed] the posters once again” – this time, with the intention of defiling them.
Boris’s ascension, Don’t Panic says, comes with “a rhetoric that’s likely to damage the UK economy and betray London, the city that he once led.” Londoners have a right to feel angry, and a right to protest in the face of this betrayal. From Thursday 1 August, throughout London, Don’t Panic’s “Stick it to the Man” posters invite pedestrians to smush their used chewing gum into the face of Boris Johnson. “You could call this a bite-sized protest,” Don’t Panic states – “an opportunity for people to have a little fun whilst also giving them a platform to demonstrate their grievance to the appointment of this non-elected Prime Minister.”
Don’t Panic argues, in typical tongue-in-cheek fashion, that its “Stick it to the Man” campaign might actually be helpful to the new PM, saying that the fly posters “will also rid the streets of the stickiest of confectionaries” – with reference to a report by the Local Government Association estimating that chewing gum clear-up costs councils £60 million.
George McCallum of Don’t Panic states: “It can be easy to feel helpless and ignored when faced with our current sticky political situation. The posters allow people to enjoy micro-moments of civil disobedience, having their voices heard whilst keeping our pavements clear of gum.” Each of the posters, furtively put up in the dark, early hours of 1 August, bears the hashtag #stickittotheman. In your face, Boris.