Business Community & Education Hong Kong

UA Cinema provides chairs for staff after artist threatens to shame them with billboard ads

An artist who advocates for labour rights has won another battle after demanding a cinema provide chairs for its ticket sales teams.

Luke Ching had asked the UA Cine Times at Times Square in Causeway Bay to provide seating, as it was the only branch in the chain not to do so. His suggestion, however, was rejected.

But, according to a social media post by Ching, he then reached out to the shopping mall’s advertising department in October, claiming that he wished to pay for ads about occupational health issues caused by prolonged standing.

Times Square

The proposed ad at Times Square by Luke Ching. Photo: Facebook.

“The form and content may sound a bit absurd to you, but please let me explain carefully – you will feel this ad is very meaningful, and more importantly we will pay the full price,” he wrote in a message to the advertising department.

Ching said his plan was to buy ad slots which lasted a 24th of a second, played every ten seconds. A slogan advocating for seating would flash up on the screen in an effort to subconsciously influence the public.

The ad would have cost around HK$3,000, he said. His idea came from an experiment in 1957 by market researcher James Vicary, who used a similar format to increase sales of Coca-Cola and popcorn.

“I hope we can make bosses, employees and consumers learn about empathy together,” Ching told the advertising department.

Posted by Ching Chin Wai on Thursday, 9 November 2017

Days after he sent his plan to Times Square, it replied that it had notified UA Cinema.

The cinema then caved in, a day after Times Square’s response, telling Ching that it would immediately provide a small number of chairs to staff members who need them.

Ching thanked UA and Times Square. He also said that he had heard from the Labour Department that supermarket CitySuper was also considering providing seating to cashiers.

citysuper Times Square

citysuper at Times Square. Photo: Times Square.

Previously, Ching was successfully in pushing Wellcome, Manning’s and Watson’s to provide seating for cashiers.

“We want to thank Labour Department for the hard work of its front line staff members, forcing the last giant supermarket chain to comply with guidelines,” he said. “We will closely monitor CitySuper to see if it keeps its promise. We will not rule out passing the case to Times Square in the future.”

Ching had also been successful in encouraging Circle K to loosen its requirements over hats. Since August, Circle K staff members can choose whether or not to wear baseball caps.

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UA Cinema provides chairs for staff after artist threatens to shame them with billboard ads