This month’s RSL survey reveals high recognition rates for the cross-section of outdoor campaigns shown to 300 18- to 60-year-olds. Nescafé’s ‘Wake up to the best’ has the greatest impact. As Malcolm Green explains (below, right) posters can b

Recall for this month’s study was higher than for the two previous surveys, with three campaigns recognised by more than half the people interviewed, and another three remembered by more than four out of ten.

Two-thirds of all adults recognised Nescafé’s “Wake up to the best”, making it a clear leader in the impact chart. The Royal Mail’s latest execution in the long-running “I saw this and thought of you” campaign was second with 61 per cent recall; the Ford Fiesta “faces” ads were third with 56 per cent.

Two other automotive posters, for the Honda Prelude and the Daihatsu Move appear in the top six, along with mobile phone network One2One. Nike, Easy Jeans and Peugeot scored between 20 and 30 per cent; Reebok trails at 17 per cent.

Nescafé, Daihatsu, Ford and Honda had far more impact among men than women; the difference was most pronounced for the Ford campaign, recalled by two-thirds of the men, and half the women, interviewed. Of the five posters with more than 40 per cent recall, only Royal Mail was recognised by more women than men.

Impact and liking are more closely related than in previous Posterwatch surveys. Royal Mail, second in impact, is the most popular campaign with 70 per cent approval. Four posters effectively tie for second place: Nescafé and Daihatsu both scored 64 per cent, just in front of Honda’s 63 per cent and Nike’s 62 per cent. The Fiesta ad was the only other liked by more than half the respondents.

Most of the posters appealed more strongly to the under 35 age group. Reebok, Nike and Fiesta were liked by seven out of ten young people, and Honda, Daihatsu and the Royal Mail by at least five out of ten young people, compared with four out of ten of the over-35s. Nescaf̩ was the only poster to score more highly among over-35s Рalthough approval never dips below 60 per cent.

RSL Signpost interviewed 300 people aged between 18 and 60 during May 1997. Contact Alan Hodges 0181-861 8000

Why Posters must stand to attention

There is a discipline which is applied – or should be applied – to posters that makes them “pure ” advertising. With one visual, and perhaps a line of copy, you have to get my attention, tell me something I didn’t know, change my mind and reward me for giving you my attention. Because posters are often next to each other, you must command more notice than the others, and you’ve got to sell me something in an interesting and entertaining way.

The Ford Fiesta ads manage to do that. They make a straight point in an entertaining and visually arresting way, and they have a strong, distinctive tone of voice. There is a synergy with the TV commercials, but you don’t have to have seen the TV to understand these posters.

Honda’s work has improved since its previous campaign, where everything revolved around a price message, which seemed to devalue the brand. But if I hadn’t seen the commercial, I don’t think I would understand this execution. Daihatsu is too gimmicky – trying to say too much for a poster. It looks old-fashioned, too. A bit boring; which to me is the worst crime a poster can commit. I’d take far more notice of the Nike, Reebok or Ford ads.

Too often, posters just end up as big press ads, when there really is a skill and an art to the medium that, when exploited properly, makes the poster one of the most powerful and exciting advertising vehicles you can find.

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