OUTDOOR/AMBIENT: Speaking Out - Three clients explain their approach to outdoor ads and reveal why they like the medium. Compiled by Pippa Considine

JOHN BLAKEMORE - advertising director, Glaxo SmithKline

'Glaxo SmithKline is probably one of the top 20 users of outdoor in the

UK. Our latest outdoor campaign is the new Lucozade Sport work.Posters

are a very simple medium - the message is taken in by the consumer very

quickly. As with any poster site, people only look at it for a second or

so. A lot of what posters are about is brand awareness. But with

Lucozade there's also the advantage that as an impulse buy you can have

posters at the point of purchase. Outdoor is really best used for

awareness. You could use it if you haven't enough money to do a TV

campaign or if you want to use it as a second medium.

'We have toyed with ambient (or what I mean by ambient), such as

shopping trolley advertising, though not really used it in any serious

way. My own view is that ambient is pertinent for some, but not all,


Perhaps for a new product or specific sales promotion.


It's difficult to measure, like any medium. Even TV is difficult, but

you do know with TV that if you have good creative work you'll see an

immediate blip on the sales chart.

'With outdoor, that takes longer. And with TV you know the average

market price at any one time. With posters there's always the question:

'Have I picked the right rate?' Using an outdoor media specialist (Glaxo

SmithKline uses MediaCom Outdoor) is the way the industry goes. I think

if you didn't use a third party you'd be losing out. No single agency on

a consistent basis has enough poster work for the economies of


'New outdoor technology such as scrolling posters, back-lit or the new

cross-track projections, I find interesting. We used scrolling posters

for Beechams and for Lucozade Sport. But like any media, it's the

creative work which is vitally important.

'Over time the poster industry has got its act together and the quality

of sites is always improving. There's been the introduction of new

formats such as scrollers and back-lits and you now rarely see tatty

sites on gable ends.'

DOMINIC BOX - marketing director, Cussons

'Imperial Leather has built on two or three years of very successful use

of outdoor. It has given the brand standout and saliency. We've used a

traditional medium in a non-traditional way. Shower ads tend to be

people in white coats or sanitised showers. We wanted to break

conventions and outdoor is good for that because it's so public. We had

an outdoor execution which was a 'before and after' - a basic product

demonstration with a girl bare from the waist up using our aerosol can

or a normal shower gel.

It got a lot of PR coverage.

'We've found that outdoor does seem to generate more rapid response in

terms of notoriety. It's there in front of you in the street for two

weeks on your way to and from work. Then we did a 48-sheet, 96-sheet and

six-sheet campaign showing people having a great time in shower

cubicles. On TV it would have been less graphically illustrated and

difficult technically. Outdoor allows hyperbole. We were showing the

cubicle full to the brim with lather: all you can see is legs or heads

or arms.

'It's received wisdom that to engage and entertain, you use TV: you have

a longer time and moving imagery and can tell a story. But if you're not

trying to impart anything too complicated, then posters can do that just

as well.

'Most recently we've done a big relaunch through our ad agency,

BDH/TBWA, which used TV and outdoor. Because it's close to the point of

purchase, outdoor does reinforce the message on TV. There's one poster

which is a big pool of lather with the logo and we're simply using the

medium as a flag for the brand with the visual trick of dropping the 'e'

from leather to spell lather.

We're also doing cross-track where there's a consumer need - people are

sweaty and smelly and may make a purchase decision.

'The use of telephone boxes was driven by the medium. A telephone box

looks like a shower cubicle. Using this new medium and posting a still

of a woman on 400 phone boxes is highly impactful. We had coverage in

the marketing press and letters and phone calls, and the latest tracking

through Millward-Brown is spectacular. We wanted new innovative thinking

and CIA London's outdoor specialists were able to sort the wheat from

the chaff. As with all our campaigns, outdoor has never been the poor


ALISTAIR BUCKLE - head of marketing, easyJet

'We've found outdoor to be extremely effective - for reach, awareness

and impact. Do we think the same of ambient? Yes. The easyJet brand is

anti-establishment, bucking the trend and we try to take this into the

advertising message and into the media we use. About 18 months ago we

launched our Luton to Liverpool route and because we weren't just

competing with trains, we used lorry sides as the perfect advertising

vehicle. 'The motorway we use is always clear' made a good headline for

people sitting in a traffic-jam on the M6.

'We do our advertising in-house and use BBJ for buying. Any agency worth

its salt will look at all types of advertising. Like many clients, we

get a lot of wacky ideas, but easyJet is more open to taking risks. I

think we were one of the first with the lorry. We've looked at most

things - washroom ads, advertising on petrol pump nozzles, sandwich bags

and, of course, we've had ads on the sides of our planes. Stelios, our

chairman, thought a low-cost airline needed to be efficient with its

advertising and use its own advertising vehicles.

'Outdoor is particularly hard to measure. But the beauty of our business

is our very simple, straightforward way of doing business. As most

marketing teams would do, we make sure we have the best spread and mix


But we do whatever we feel works for us. So, 48-sheets, Underground

six-sheets ... in the summer, we're very keen to appeal to the influx of

visitors in London, so we use taxis.

'Unlike Go, which has built a brand through TV advertising, we felt we

didn't have the budgets to compete with traditional carriers. But we can

build the brand using outdoor, radio and PR. Ambient ads became the PR

in itself. And having an in-house team, rather than using an agency, we

think, means we're able to react quicker to the market or to


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