Outdoor Ad Of The Month – May 2024

Welcome to System1 and JCDecaux UK’s first Outdoor Ad Of The Month! That’s Outdoor, or OOH as in “Out Of Home”, not OOH as in “Ooh!”. Though that’s part of what a great Out Of Home ad should do – grab your attention, surprise or entertain you, all in service of a brand. Each month we’ll look at Out Of Home advertising and bring you some of the most effective work we’ve found – Out Of Home ads that really do have that “Ooh!” factor.

Like all channels, OOH has its own challenges, opportunities and best practices. It is exceptionally high reach, with 98% of the UK population reporting seeing OOH advertising. It is also high frequency, in terms of the many different ads people will see on the average journey. But it is low attention – an OOH ad will only attract 2 seconds of attention, which has big implications for what the format can or can’t achieve effectively. System1 and JCDecaux UK dug into those implications in their Perfect Poster report, creating a set of guidelines for best OOH practice.

We’ll start with three of the best ads we’ve seen over the past month. Outdoor Ad Of The Month is a collaboration between System1 and JCDecaux UK, so as well as the metrics you might be familiar with from System1, we’re bringing in JCDecaux UK’s AI-powered Attention Score, which predicts the elements of each ad that will attract audience focus. On the System1 side of things, our reports include our short-term Spike Rating and long-term Star Rating, which has been predicting advertising effectiveness for 15 years. And we also look at Fast Fluency – how much of the audience recognise the brand being advertised.

Compared to video advertising, OOH Fluency levels are low – on average only 43% of the audience can recognise the brand being advertised within those vital 2 seconds of attention they’re giving the ad. Higher frequency makes up for that to some extent but it’s still obvious that strong branding is all-important in an OOH context and needs to be a top priority in poster design.

The first of our 3 highlighted ads, PG Tips’ “Sip Sip Boom”, gets that right. The logo is prominent and clear, but the ad also does a terrific job of matching product and branding with its main visual – a mug of hot tea in PG Tips’ distinctive green and red colours. It’s no wonder both Fast Fluency and Final Fluency (a recognition measure with a longer time window) are well above the norm: it was the only ad that more than half the audience recognised within 2 seconds. The PG Tips poster isn’t a top performer emotionally but it obeys some of the Branding Rules in our Perfect Poster book – limited elements in an ad, strong colours, and distinctive colours for the brand.

Our second ad for Strongbow was the best emotional performer of the posters we looked at, achieving a 3.2-Star Rating. Strongbow are in the second year of their “Take A Bow” campaign, and the new tagline is prominent on posters where the product is very much the hero – big, simple shots introducing new Strongbow Zest Cider alongside Tropical Cider. “Tropical’s Got A Zesty Besty” is the strapline, which helps drive the higher emotional response to the ad with an entertaining pun that grabs attention and makes audiences curious. The short, fun copy and the big product shots are both things we recommend doing in our Perfect Poster guidelines, too.

Our third OOH highlight comes from Wrigleys Extra gum – “Be One With Your Gum”, exhorts a poster with a smiling young guy, gum between his teeth. An Extra pack shot and the brand’s “Chew Good” strapline sit below. This ad is a solid all-round performer but particularly strong on JCDecaux’s AI-enabled Attention metric, where it was the top performer. You can see why – simple, bold colours, a strong pack shot and a poster dominated by a human face, all of which are things that get audiences to take notice.


So which one’s our Outdoor Ad Of The Month? All three! Each performs well on one of our central metrics and shows a different element of top performing OOH copy, so we’ll let them share the award. And join us next month as we hunt for more ads which excel in the unusual but effective Outdoor arena.


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