In the first of an occasional series, we research the effectiveness of outdoor campaigns

We showed 300 people aged between 18 and 55 pictures of ten current posters and asked whether they remembered seeing them previously. We also asked them to say how much they liked each poster, by giving a mark out of ten.

More than four-fifths of people recognised at least one poster, ranging from 61 per cent for Esso Pricewatch to nine per cent for the National Lottery “National Heritage” creative execution. Four posters – Esso, Peugeot 406, Silk Cut “German” and Foster’s Lager “Ambre Solaire” – were recognised by more than a third of respondents.

Perhaps because of the rather masculine products which predominated – sport, lager and cars – men were twice as likely as women to have noticed at least one poster before. Male recall is particularly high for the Royal’s “Batman” execution, and for the Littlewoods FA Cup ad for whom they make up 70 per cent of recognisers. For Channels 4’s NBA poster, and the Silk Cut and Orange campaigns the under 35s are similarly important.

Two posters, Esso and Royal Insurance, effectively tie for top position in our poll, well clear of the nearest sample neatly down the middle, with Esso taking first place among the over 35-year-olds and female respondents, and Royal among men and the younger age group. “Batman” polarises opinion far more; 22 per cent of respondents giving it eight, nine or ten marks, compared with 16 per cent for Esso. Conversely, Esso is disliked by fewer people.

For general appeal and impact, then, Esso Pricewatch scores most highly in this month’s Posterwatch; but Royal Insurance has pulled off a more difficult feat in attracting a younger audience to what is often regarded as a rather staid market.

Trevor Beattie, creative director, TBWA:

For me, there is only one winner this month. It is so clearly a winner that all the other posters come joint 10th. This Silk Cut ad is the best execution for the brand since ‘Rhino’. It’s simplicity itself, but still manages to withstand viewing after viewing. The icing on the cake is the portrait press adaptation. Silk Cut has been the best poster campaign in town for years, with some inspired creative work, it’s likely to remain number one for the foreseeable future.

” Tony Scouller, marketing director, IDV UK:

Some are good, some are baffling – I’ve no idea what message I’m expected to take out of Orange or Peugeot, for example. It is disappointing that a brand like Foster’s, with a tradition of strong advertising, cannot think of a more original idea than to lean on someone else’s ads. Royal Insurance is well-branded, and C4 is bold with a simple message. The best of the bunch, though, is Esso Pricewatch. Clearly branded, it tells a simple story that interests the target market – nine out of ten.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here