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.

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