Poster Watch

The brash Kwik-Fit campaign proved irritating but effective, while ads from Reed and United Airlines made hardly any impact at all. Dave Alexander of Banks Hoggins O’Shea/FCB finds little to admire in this month’s crop

Liking % All Adults No 7 Suncare 69 Saab 69 Chrysler 62 Lynx 62 World Online 57 Volvo 54 Kwik-fit 48 United Airlines 47 Pimm’s 41 33

This month’s posters demonstrate how wide the gulf between impact and acceptability can be. Kwik-Fit’s brash “Cost-U-Less” just tops the recall charts, remembered by 42 per cent of passers-by. Four out of ten remembered seeing World Online’s “free Internet calls” poster, two per cent more than the bare-midriffed girls promoting No 7 Suncare.

Saab Convertible’s black and white “joys of the open road” poster and Volvo’s launch of the Cross Country car tied for fourth place, recalled by about a third of adults. Three out of ten remembered the Chrysler PT Cruiser advertisement and the Pimm’s “bottle-top” campaign; 23 per cent had seen the Lynx “feminine” campaign, 21 per cent had spotted Reed’s ads, and 18 per cent recognised those from United Airlines.

The “liking” scores show some major changes. No 7 and Saab soar to the top of the chart, sharing first place with 69 per cent approval. Chrysler and Lynx also improved their recall scores, to take third place with 62 per cent. Some 57 per cent approved of World Online, three per cent more than Volvo.

Kwik-Fit, top in the recall charts, was liked by less than half the population, sharing seventh place with United Airlines. Pimm’s slips three places, to ninth out of ten; Reed comes a clear last, liked by only a third of the audience.

Ipsos-ASI interviewed 300 adults aged 18-65 during August 2000. 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 Simon French 020 8861 8145

Recall % All Adults Kwik-Fit 42 World Online 40 No 7 Suncare 38 Saab 33 Volvo 32 Chrysler 30 Pimm’s 29 Lynx 22 21 United Airlines 18

Liking % All Adults No 7 Suncare 69 Saab 69 Chrysler 62 Lynx 62 World Online 57 Volvo 54 Kwik-fit 48 United Airlines 47 Pimm’s 41 33

Rank orders recall liking Kwik-Fit 1 7= World Online 2 5 No 7 Suncare 3 1= Saab 4= 1= Volvo 4= 6 Chrysler 6= 3 Pimm’s 6= 9 Lynx 8= 3= 8= 10 United Airlines 10 7=

Complex ads that leave you searching for a message

Posters are advertising in its purest form, distilling the essence of a brand. But to do this, they must be simple – a pithy and succinct idea, visually expressed. Too many of this month’s posters would be better as press ads.

Airlines often produce good posters, using them for “now flying to Frankfurt” or “cheaper fares” promotions – the sort of message that posters convey well. United, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be saying anything immediate about the airline or its services; this is a complex thought, too complex to be absorbed from a poster.

Reed has the kind of established identity and authority in its market that agencies usually have to create from scratch for a dot-com launch, to build trust in the unknown brand. The campaign for this online site throws all the brand heritage away to make it look like just another dot-com – and it gives you no reason to believe the claim, or to go and investigate it yourself at the PC.

Lynx and Pimm’s know how to do it, so why they don’t is a mystery. The presumed pun in Pimms (“Sunny and share”) is just distracting; the Lynx ads are clever, whereas before they were funny. Volvo (“Terrible roads – let’s go back tomorrow”) is simple and on that criterion alone, it works as a poster. I’m just not wild about the idea – but at least it has one.

Dave Alexander is joint creative director of Banks Hoggins O’Shea/FCB

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