My last blog talked about how you should vote in the General Election for the bloke with the best poster. It got me thinking about posters in general. And I came to a pretty clear conclusion: I absolutely bloody love posters.

I’ll spend the next few minutes telling you why you should be considering them for your next campaign because there is an amazing emotional argument for them. But considering we all know that less people are watching telly and more media spend is going into it then there is also a potential media inflation argument too.

For starters, posters are brilliant. They’re the last true broadcast medium on earth. TV has become too fragmented and ultra-targeted, radio has too; and don’t get me started on programmatic and the web. Blimey. Posters are a return to the brilliant era of the common good, societal cohesion; a triumph of the pulpit and soapbox. Pretty much everything ace that any of the adland champions ever did worked brilliantly on a poster, from “Management Trainee, Aged 42” to “Hello Boys”.

Posters are also the only medium that selflessly demand nothing from you in return. TV ads interrupt your content, so do radio ads. Digital display follows you around the web like some spurned spotty adolescent begging for sex. Even print ads break up the lovely uniform nature of articles you are reading. But posters just interrupt you with a beautiful gay abandon, unignorable and gloriously invasive. Interrupting nothing but the view and landscape. Demanding pretty much nothing in return.

Now traditionally everyone slagged them off because supposedly they were wasteful or you couldn’t prove ROI. Received wisdom, largely. Seismic innovations in technology of planning, booking and emerging digital formats have eradicated all these supposed downsides. Outdoor is now beautifully plannable, targeted to within an inch of its life and can do all sorts of things that the 48s and 96s of yesteryear couldn’t even dream of.

Smartphone proliferation also now means that in the last five years posters have become one of the best DR mechanisms too – three quarters of us search for stuff on our smartphones when we’re out and about. And when we’re out and about, we’re not watching telly.

So, in the words of Freddie Mercury: they had the time, they had the power, they‘ve yet to have their finest hour… radi… No, posters. Outdoor. Digital and traditional.

Have I convinced you yet?

Well if my hyperbole and eloquence haven’t convinced you, then I think pretty soon that simple pounds and pence might. We know from Thinkbox that audiences went down 4.5% in 2014, and we know from the media owners like ITV that revenues went up 6%. So simple maths will tell you that more money chasing less audience will give you an pretty worrying inflationary figure.

So, basically in terms my gran would understand, you could soon be paying more for the same thing or paying the same to get less. The same is not true, however, of posters. Same number of eyeballs seeing those posters out there.

And I’m not down on telly. Posters work brilliantly alongside telly too. One of my media colleagues told me the other day that it’s statistically proved that they extend the reach of TV campaigns and also improve the effectiveness of a TV campaign when bought together.

So, posters. Effective. Efficient. And not potentially inflating at a slightly worrying rate depending on whose figures you use. Worth thinking about. Unless all the political parties have already bought them all. Bloody politicians.

(Next time: How I absolutely adore big telly ads…)

This article appeared in Marketing Week

Kevin Chesters – Executive Planning Director at mcgarrybowen.

Follow Kevin on twitter @hairychesters

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