Why 7 out of 10 Outdoor Ads Aren't Working

In a recent test, 7,500 people were shown a range of posters for the average time a poster is viewed in the real world. Then, the same people got to look at the poster for longer if they wanted, to enable the measurement of realistic brand and emotion data.

Here are the shocking headline results…

  • Half the time, people had no idea what brand the poster was even for.
  • A huge 40% got only 1 star in System 1 testing, failing to build any sort of positive emotion, predicting little or no long-term effectiveness.

In all, 70% of the ads proved ineffective according to the most important measurement metrics.

What's the problem?

The trap that advertisers are falling into is failing to distinguish between the nature of OOH media compared to advertising on a platform such as Meta.

An example of this is that many OOH ads carry a trackable QR code, a tempting offer and perhaps a seasonal message. Planners will buy up sites so that customers can see the posters as they walk to the shops.

Here’s the thing. People driving to work aren’t pulling over to read ads. You have two seconds. That amounts to branding, an attention grabbing image and maybe 5 or 6 words. A QR? No chance. And who walks to the shops any more?

Trying to turn OOH into direct response media is a recipe for disaster.

Use OOH properly and reach 98% of the population

Because most Australians live in one of the major cities, OOH has the impressive capability to reach around 98% of the population once a week.

The superpower of poster media is its broad, high-attention, brand-trust-building reach. In fact, OOH is a brilliant brand-building media channel.

The key to unlocking the power of OOH is in the creative. You cannot re-proportion and scale up your in-feed PPC ads.

Remember the 2-second rule. Using cleverly contrived creative to capture the imagination and be entertaining, with striking visuals, succinct and snappy headlines and clear branding will bring success and utilise the media to its full potential.

As Martin Boase of BMP famously said on the subject of ad creative: “If you are going to invite yourself into someone’s living room you have a duty not to shout at them or bore them or insult their intelligence. On the other hand, if you are a charming guest and you entertain them or amuse them or tell them something interesting, then they may like you a bit better and then they may be more inclined to buy your brand.”

Posters then, are a powerful media choice when they’re done right. Talk to us if you’d like to know more.

Let's Talk

Talk to us about your advertising.

Call Roger Allsopp on: 1300 128 935
Email us: talk@fizzbuzz.com.au
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