Poster Watch

Safety rather than creativity was the trend this month and recall was way down. Michelin’s ‘spacewalk’ and BHS lingerie ranked equal top, while Sony – a brand usually associated with eye-catching ads – came bottom.

Ipsos-ASI interviewed 300 adults to see which poster ads had made the most impact this month.

Recall levels were lower than usual, reflecting the lack of “stop-factor” remarked upon by this month’s expert commentator, Jasper Shelbourne. Michelin’s “spacewalk” and BHS lingerie tied for top place, recognised by 38 per cent of the people questioned. Braun’s “advanced skincare for women” razor ad took second place with 34 per cent, followed by the enigmatic Topman campaign with 31 per cent.

Four posters – Trainline, Virgin Mobile, CGU and Ford Fiesta – scored between 29 per cent and 26 per cent recall; 17 per cent of adults remembered seeing PlayStation and 16 per cent the Bottled Guinness ad.

BHS and Topman shared the honours for the liking category, attracting just over six out of ten people. Michelin received approval from 57 per cent, and Virgin Mobile 55 per cent. Just over half voted for Trainline and Braun, and just under half for the Ford Fiesta, CGU and Guinness posters. PlayStation appealed to only a third of the audience.

Three campaigns were markedly more popular with men than women. Fifty-three per cent of men compared with 41 per cent of women liked Guinness; two-thirds of men were in favour of Michelin, 20 per cent more than women. But male approval was most pronounced for BHS, reaching 72 per cent – although, since comparatively few were able to identify the advertiser correctly, it was perhaps not the brand which was attracting their attention.

Ipsos-ASI interviewed 300 adults aged 18-65 during the first week of December 1999. They were shown photographs of ten current posters, with the advertiser’s name and logo removed, and asked which ones they had seen before, and whether they liked or disliked each one.

Contact Alan Hodges:0181 861 8000

Campaigns trade in ‘stop factor’ for conservatism

Most of the posters this month are low on the “stop factor”, the ability to stop passer-bys in their tracks and make them take notice.

Very few of the ads seem to have an advertising idea; they look more like the brief than the ad. Some – CGU for example – seem to be playing it safe. There’s nothing in them to disagree with, but nothing to motivate most people either – the safety culture in advertising. Others, like Michelin, suffer from the international advertising “one solution cures all” syndrome, more likely to please the client than the consumer.

In this batch, the exceptions are Virgin, Sony and Guinness – although none of these are the pick of the crop of those brands’ advertising. Taken as a whole, they demonstrate the truth of the saying that clients get the advertising they deserve. People talk about advertising as if agencies have complete control over the end result, but in fact they have to take a more expedient view, and satisfy the paying customer. If you looked at the other work of some of the agencies represented here, you would find some purposeful and eye-catching advertising. Effective advertising reflects the client’s ability to get the best from the agency, not just agencies’ ability to produce it.

Jasper Shelbourne is executive creative director at J Walter Thompson.

Recall % ALL ADULTS BHS 38 Michelin 38 Braun 34 Topman 31 Trainline 29 Virgin Mobile 28 CGU 27 Ford Fiesta 26 Guinness 16 PlayStation 17

LIKING % ALL ADULTS BHS 61 Topman 61 Michelin 57 Virgin Mobile 55 Trainline 52 Braun 51 Ford Fiesta 49 CGU 48 Guinness 47 PlayStation 34>

RANK ORDERS RECALL LIKING BHS 1= 1= Michelin 1= 3 Braun 3 5= Topman 4 1= Trainline 5= 5= Virgin Mobile 5= 4 CGU 5= 7= Ford Fiesta 5= 7= Guinness 9= 7= PlayStation 9= 10

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