Cable & Wireless was remembered by more people – 53 per cent of all adults – than any other poster in this month’s selection. This campaign has been featured in the past two editions of Posterwatch, and on both occasions was at the bottom of the recall charts. But this month it has doubled its awareness, showing the virtue of persisting with a clearly recognisable and idiosyncratic campaign.
Nescafé, Wonderbra “Yes, I know” and “Seven Years in Tibet” were all remembered by half, and Pretty Polly ” Instant Reductions” by a third of the people interviewed. An unusually high number of campaigns – Perrier, First Direct, Peugeot 306, Sharp Microwaves and Ovaltine Power – were recalled by fewer than a quarter of all adults.
In terms of popularity, this order was almost reversed. Perrier and Ovaltine rose to the top of the chart, scoring 76 per cent and 71 per cent respectively, two of the highest scores recorded in all seven Posterwatches. Six out of ten people liked Seven Years In Tibet and Wonderbra posters, but Nescafé lost ground, falling to fifth place beside Cable & Wireless and Pretty Polly. First Direct “Boomerang”, Sharp and Peugeot all scored between four and five out of ten – enough to put them higher up the table in most editions of Posterwatch.
The best of the bunch are Pretty Polly and Ovaltine Power. The latter I like because it avoids the kid power clichés. There is a temptation to go all Nike on it with black American athletes, but instead it has used these rather cute period cartoon characters.
This is not one of the great Wonderbra posters. Overall the campaign – like the Economist – seems to be running out of gags. If you can’t maintain the standard of a famous campaign, or move it on, it’s better to abandon it.
The Peugeot 306 Estate is not a fantastic use of an exceptional medium; a déj vu headline with a rather predictable three-quarters shot of the rear of the car – estate car equals space. But we are all – and I speak as one who has a car account – in a bit of a rut with car poster advertising, using it as a support to TV, when it could be a lead medium. After all, the car’s environment is on the streets, where the posters are, not in the living room with the television. Car advertising is still using posters in a limited way, to familiarise people with the look of the car – but without a compelling proposition. You might as well double park them round town! The last good poster car campaign I remember was the Micra, just a little shape, a teaser, that sold the concept of the car, rather than replicating the showroom window.