One of the great things about our new Outdoor Hall of Fame is the chance to reacquaint yourself with the great creative work you grew up with (see www.outdoorhalloffame.co.uk) The thing about outdoor creative is that when it’s good , it’s very very good, and when it’s bland it’s invisible. More than any other media, outdoor is in the hands of creative to wring the last benefits out of the consumer contact.
Originally we set out to limit the great campaigns to no more than three executions. Claire Beale at Campaign soon put a stop to that – why punish the big supporters of outdoor, she said. And anyway, try and pick the best three Economist ads – which ones would you ever leave out? And so it is that we have multiple Guinness ads, Volkswagen ads, Economist ads, and Adidas ads in the competition. It was just too hard to choose.
The early running has been taken up by a few of the bookies’ favourites. Eva Herzigova is looking sprightly on Hello Boys, but some of the old timers are very much still in the race –Araldite, the Pregnant Man, Labour Isn’t Working. Why, Lord Kitchener himself has more than 100 votes. It’s a great head to head and a very level playing field. Forcing some of the votes into each decade means that you have the Guinness Girder ads up against the Irn Bru Girder ads from half a century later. Beans Meanz Heinz rubs shoulders with the sliced Heinz tomato ketchup bottle 30 years its junior. If anything, some of the earlier work follows the golden rules of poster advertising even better than the new work.
But the main point is, as I look up and down the scores and compare the “decade” column, how incredibly well mixed up it all is. On the one hand, it says we all have a lot to learn from the classic early work. And on the other, how the contemporary audience knows what makes a great ad and just how to pick ‘em: not just from the recent decade or two, but going back forty, sixty, or eighty years. Drinka Pinta Milka Day and the VW jelly mould were great then, and they are still demonstrably great today.