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Specsavers Creative JCDecaux UK Optimisation

DOOH advertising: Research reveals most effective way to optimize your creative



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August 30, 2023 | 9 min read

While many brands are pushing the boundaries of creativity to make compelling out-of-home (OOH) work, especially in digital OOH, what is the real secret to success? How can advertisers be confident that their highly visible creative will support brand building and drive market share growth? New ‘How to make the perfect digital poster’ research from System1, Lumen Research and JCDecaux UK shows that creativity is a key driver for effectiveness

While many brands are pushing the boundaries of creativity to make compelling out-of-home (OOH) work, especially in digital OOH, what is the real secret to success? How can advertisers be confident that their highly visible creative will support brand building and drive market share growth? New ‘How to make the perfect digital poster’ research from System1, Lumen Research and JCDecaux UK shows that creativity is a key driver for effectiveness.

In a world where attention is a finite resource, standing out and cutting through the multitude of messages is a key challenge for marketers. As Mike Follett, MD of Lumen Research and founder of the Attention Council regularly says, “just because you can see something doesn’t mean you will pay attention to it.”

Brand is boss, new insight shows how marketers can optimise advertising

Let’s take the example of a marketer who is already using a high-attention medium such as OOH, what are the practical steps they should take to optimize their digital poster creative?

To find out, the research team behind ‘How to make the perfect digital poster’ analyzed more than 50 ads using three measures: JCDecaux’s VIM test that leverages AI to uncover how the creative composition impacts the focus of attention; Lumen’s testing on what people see when they view the creative in real-world environments; and System1’s Test Your Ad platform, which reveals how creative makes people feel and in turn, how effective it will be over the short and long term.

Chris Felton, director of data and insight at JCDecaux UK said, “This is an exciting data-led project to help brands deliver their message on the out-of-home canvas. We aren’t here to advise on creativity, but thanks to this insight we can now advise how to optimize the poster execution to make the creative work even harder. Thanks to this collaboration between System1, Lumen and JCDecaux we have the evidence to show what really works. What comes out clearly from the study is that brand is boss – clients that make their branding bolder, increase the size of their logo, cut down on copy and make their call-to-action bigger will see real results.”

Download a new guide to optimizing your out-of-home digital poster

Ahead of the full research publication later this year, the team are now sharing a set of best practice guidelines to help marketers optimize their digital OOH creative.

Key findings in these guidelines include:

· Using a fluent device makes your creative 1/3 more effective.

· Logos at the top deliver +32% brand recall.

· Products that take up >50% deliver 38% more attention.

Andrew Tindall, global creative & media partnership director at System1 explains, “Feeling is at the heart of great creative. Consistent use of fluent devices like identifiable characters helps build emotion, support storytelling and trigger brand recognition. Leveraging the same fluent devices across TVC, OOH, digital and print is one of the keys to capturing attention and securing brand recall.”

Find out how from Specsavers and ASOS posters drive results

At a recent marketing conference preview of the results, the team highlighted the importance of using these findings to ensure consumers can quickly recognize the brand, underlining the connection between fast brand recognition and outcomes such as sales - citing the strong creative work of ASOS which scored 83% in terms of brand fluency in just two seconds.

Given that ASOS’s creative featured a large logo at the top and an image of their product across three quarters of the creative, perhaps it’s not surprising that this campaign proved so successful.

As a case study by JCDecaux UK and VIOOH showed, ASOS’s OOH campaign delivered a 10% uplift in brand awareness, +9% in consideration and +1% increase in overall market share. While media planning that cleverly targeted ASOS’s audience of fashionistas on OOH sites in the right locations was clearly central to this result, the creative contribution of the power of strong branding to cut through certainly cannot be ignored.

Ever since System1’s Orlando Wood first unveiled his research into fluent devices back in 2017 at the IPA Effectiveness Week, there’s been an increasing body of knowledge that the assets that make advertising memorable and emotional at the same time can build a brand for years or decades – just ask Compare The Market’s meerkats or Andrex’s puppies.

Or ask Specsavers - a brand whose use of fluent devices (also known as distinctive assets) was hailed as exemplary at the IPA Effectiveness Awards, where they won Gold. The judges said Specsavers have “a far-sighted view of advertising’s role in building a business over 30 years.. their continual presence …and broad appeal, commitment to humour as an advertising tool and distinctive familiar brand assets that build memory structure.”

As a brand that consistently gets it right (winning multiple creative awards including The Drum OOH awards), Specsavers’ participation in the ‘How to make the perfect digital poster’ research project was of great importance and hugely appreciated by all the team.

Sonya Mooney marketing communication lead for Specsavers commented, “JCDecaux has helped us evaluate the effectiveness of our OOH creative and we look forward to working together in future to help inform our OOH design and drive best-in-class creative in the sector.”

At a preview of the results, Sonya highlighted a number of the insight findings that will resonate with brands, including the ability to increase attention by changing color and the significant uplifts delivered by relatively modest increases to the size of the call-to-action as well as noting the positive impact that can be achieved by altering a brand’s logo position.

Why creativity sits at the heart of marketing success

The creative contribution for marketing success was also at the heart of Justin Gibbons’ brilliant book and formula ‘P² + C = 6’. Expanding this formula, he argued for the need for brands to get their public and private screens working together (that’s the P²), add the creative contribution (that’s the C) - by this he means the use of distinctive assets as well as the portability of assets across channels. Getting your P² and your C sorted, will lead to media planning success with six important outcomes: 1. awareness, 2. consideration 3. activation 4. attention, 5. trust and 6. priming. It’s a great read and you can download a free copy here.

In Justin’s previous book P² + C = 5, he points out that context is the key to making distinctive assets work hard, drawing upon The Moments of Truth study by Posterscope, JCDecaux UK and Clear Channel. This showed that using contextually-relevant messaging delivers an average +17% uplift in OOH effectiveness – with relevancy defined as being either by relevant moment (e.g., the weather, an event, time of day) or by relevant content (e.g., “hello London”) or both - as in the famous Starbucks’ creative “It’s raining, we’re pouring”.

This idea of relevant moments is something that Andrew Tindall from System1 is keen to highlight too in this new insight. “Aperol’s OOH creative is a great example of the familiar scenario, relatable occasions… which also build salience,” he says, making the point that just as in ancient Rome, where painters would capture a dramatic turning point in the story to engage the viewer, Aperol’s creative shows a relatable moment, using similarly dramatic gestures and action – something that art historians (and Orlando Wood) refer to as ‘moto e azione’ (motion and action), which ultimately all results in cut-through and builds effectiveness.

Essentially, advertising works in two main ways. We are hoping to create experiences in the advertising that builds associations which people can use in the future and as Justin Gibbons says, “the creative works in two ways, how effectively has it got the message across and can I still remember it in x months time” - which is where fluent devices come in.

Next steps for marketers – practical things to do right now

In a world with an information overload, creativity emerges as a potent tool for marketers to harness with its ability to to engage, captivate and leave a long-lasting impression on consumers.

So what are the next steps for marketers? As a starting point why not download the ‘How to make the perfect digital poster’ creative guidance for how to optimize your OOH digital posters to work even harder. Secondly, check out a preview on Youtube here of our collaborative research project with System1, Lumen and JCDecaux UK that will make your creative execution even more effective. And finally, feel free to drop me a line on Linkedin if you or your team would like to find out more about OOH and the role creative effectiveness can play for your brand.

Specsavers Creative JCDecaux UK Optimisation


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