These are the best placards from the Trump protest in London
AKA the ultimate opportunity for those sweet retweets
On Friday, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of London, Manchester and Scotland to protest against Donald Trump's visit to the UK.
A protest is a great way to show solidarity for a great cause and demonstrate people power on a mass level. Its also a perfect opportunity to further one's credentials and get those tasty retweets via the medium of sign-based comedy. We've had a trawl through social media to investigate what really makes the ultimate protest placard.
The most important element of a protest placard is plastering a memorable phrase on it. It needs to be original but not too weird, funny but not self-indulgent and catchy but not annoying. We kick off proceedings with this absolute masterpiece, which ticks every single box:
— Hannah Ainsworth (@hantasiana) July 12, 2018
This next one is also all about the writing:
— Tim Haselden (@hasmatkid) July 14, 2018
Classic pullback and reveal here – textbook example of killing two bellends with one stone. Bit long though – brevity is key in the placard game.
Making an exception to giving up Twitter for this – Let's show our opposition to Trump's visit to Scotland. George Square Glasgow 5pm Friday 13 & Foot of Meadows Walk Edinburgh 12 noon Sat 14 July for march and rally at Holyrood. I've got my placard ready. pic.twitter.com/WNVgyNSNbK
— Paul Kavanagh (@weegingerdug) July 6, 2018
This is exactly what not to do – any joke that has the punchline "we were being sarcastic" IN ITALICS is displaying Big Bang Theory Levels of comedy. It also reeks of cynism, clearly designed to appeal to "Scottish Twitter" and thus lacking that genuine feel. Be real, man.
Keep it simple
My mum marched in London yesterday protesting Trump's visit to the U.K. This is her placard. Not exactly an eye-catcher but… when they go low, she goes high! pic.twitter.com/573bF4Q8T5
— Freddie Stevenson (@nightingalefred) July 14, 2018
Who needs fancy fonts or colours when you've got the raw power of poetry? Not aiming for the retweets, but strikes right at your soul.
Maybe an appeal to popular culture could do those big #numbers
Sometimes the best placards are the ones that take the piss out of the whole concept of placards, Father Ted style.
In that school of subtlety we have this beauty:
Still my favourite trump placard from friday's protest! pic.twitter.com/KYZMOaIaRi
— Duncan Green (@fp2p) July 15, 2018
There is absolutely no way you can argue with this. The sloppy handwriting serves to add the whole overall aesthetic, as if Trump isn't even worth putting much effort into.
However, you can take this approach too far – and end up with this effort which might qualify as the least catchy rallying cry of all time:
I’ve got my placard plus frying pan & wooden spoon (not sure how I’m going to coordinate them: I really need 3 hands). Never mind! Off to #BringTheNoise against Trump with @womensmarchlon pic.twitter.com/NWXNPFQ4AW
— Caroline Brooke (@Carolinembrooke) July 13, 2018
When I say "We don't like you at all!" You say: "We certainly don't agree with you on immigration!"
"We don't like you at all!"
"We certainly don't agree with you on immigration!"
"Cutesy swears": Don't do it
I know, you think you've reached the height of placard comedy by making a compound of swear word + noun. Fucktrumpet! Spunkpenguin! Dickhoover! How cutesy, but with a naughty edge! No. To do so betrays near-lobotomal levels of imagination and is inexcusable in all circumstances.
Possibly the toughest decision in the history of the human race is deciding what was the funniest #Trump placard. So many inspired efforts . . . for now, I will go with this one#tangerinewankmaggot #orangefascist #potus #DonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/4X4Vx7FUmT
— Dave Matthews (@HeronXdave) July 14, 2018
On the other hand, Trump does really need to return those children.
Address the real issues
Don't get distracted from what matters – you're protesting for a reason so speak up!
Peep Show Placard Section
I haven't watched enough Peep Show to actually get these – but I've been told they bang. Decent bet.
— Greg Sawyer (@Greg_Additive) July 13, 2018
Niche can be good
Particularly if you're trying to make your protest stand out it can be an effective strategy to sprinkle the march with placards that only the very specific group of people protesting will ever get. If Trump himself saw this he'd probably think someone had made an adorable cartoon mascot of him – so blissfully unaware is he of Roger Hargreaves seminal "Mister Men" series.
See also this effort, which demonstrates the first and possibly last time my Eng Lit A Level will be useful:
— Ciaran Jenkins (@C4Ciaran) July 14, 2018
However, this can be pushed too far – as is arguably the case with the next one. It makes you ask too many questions: why should the Queen be offering Trump biscuits at all?? Rich Tea biscuits aren't even that bad?? Overly confusing.
OK, I'm calling it: best anti-Trump placard. pic.twitter.com/rsmLlohaNq
— Emma Westcott (@ecwestcott) July 14, 2018
If you're from literally anywhere else this next one might be the least intimidating threat ever made:
We Brits know better. Don't fuck with the Queen.
Careful with the SWP placards
A quick Google search of "Comrade Delta" will tell you exactly why you might want to be suspicious of the seemingly innocuous "Stand Up to Racism" placards.
Be like Tony Robinson
— Tony Robinson (@Tony_Robinson) July 13, 2018
This is in many ways the ultimate placard. All of the effort has gone into the wit, the zest, the humour – and none into that boring cutting and sticking nonsense. Who needs a piece of wood on a stick when you've got word-art and a piece of A4?
So what have we learned?
If you want to smash it in the placard game then the most important thing to nail is the right amount of twee. Overload it on the cutesy humour and it seems like you're only there for the RTs – display no humour at all and it just seems like you've completely missed the point and put a blog post on a piece of wood. But wasn't the real "comedy placard" the friends we made along the way?