In our systematic review of good and bad ads for 2018 by Media Type, today’s post focuses on Outdoor Advertising.  Our syndicated ad effectiveness panel tested 803 OOH ads last year, so we decided to look at six of the Top 5% and three of the bottom. 

What Makes Great or Not Great Out-of-Home Advertising?

Earlier this month, we profiled the best print  ads of 2018 out of 3100.  Looking now at Out-of-Home (also referred to as OOH), let’s view some of the Top 5% – and some of the worst – for 2018.  We measured 803 OOH ads of all types and sizes, which are represented in the chart above.  The continuous orange line is made up of separate dots, each of which is an outdoor ad.  The yellow line shows “Average” ABX Index scores, which measure ad effectiveness with 14 KPIs.  You can see there are more ‘bad ads’ than ‘good ads,’ so let’s look at some examples.

Billboard Waterfall

Three Top Billboards

1. Wendy’s

Fast food always dominates billboards and 2018 was no exception.  The super simple, easy-to-read board below from Wendy’s ranked #1 out of all 803 OOH ads this year.  The high Reputation score of 177 says it all: viewers appreciate Wendy’s meeting them where they live with great prices.  At an ABX Index of 129, this board ranks in the Top 5% of all 160,000 ads ABX has tested in all media and 14 countries.  Why?  You can’t miss the message; it sounds generous, which impacted Reputation, Likability and Relevance.  Beneath Action, individual CTA scores included  Intent to Purchase at a very high 221 and Intent to Recommend at 207, not to mention other high-scorers across the board.  Simple and clear works.

2. McDonald’s

McDonald’s had many OOH ads in the Top 5%, but this poster was our favorite since the $1, $2, $3 menu is easier to understand than the others at a distance.  But, the Message score of 127 doesn’t quite meet Wendy’s, nor does Reputation or Calls-to-Action.  On a positive note,  it outplayed Wendy’s in Action overall, with Intent to Purchase at a gigantic 278, Talk About at 183; Look for at 163, and so on.  

3. Popeyes

This board stood out for it’s wonderful coloring  that speaks volumes about spicy Cajun cuisine in Louisiana.  The clear $5 value for 4 pieces also resounded.  Popeye’s outperformed Wendy’s and McDonald’s in overall Action results for this color-coded ad.  Intent to Purchase hit 239;  Contact the company is 166;  Look For is 171, and so on.  Well done, Popeyes.

Three Top SuperMarket Shelf Toppers

1. Keebler Club Minis

This humble topper has a surprisingly high score.  It’s simple, colorful design appealed to the ad panelists who rated it high in both Brand Awareness at 108 and Message at 125.  It was Likable, viewers wanted to See it Again, and it was  Relevant.  For Action CTAs, the biggest was Purchase at 265 and Look for at 182.

2. Häagen-Dazs

Häagen-Dazs creative department or agency is determined to kill all of us who live on diets! This topper promoting the crispy layers of Belgian Chocolate, Coconut and Caramel, should be banned. The die cut around the bits of chocolate are lethal for those easily tempted.  A Message score of 120 and Reputation of 174 tells us panelists were equally impressed.  Intent to Purchase is a big 232 among other good CTAs.

3. Dawn

My personal favorite is this fabulous topper from Dawn complete with 3D protruding hands holding baby birds and  talking about wildlife.  What a beautiful piece of art using  contrasting colors (yellow and blue).  The eye is drawn to the topper and is rewarded and the PR message drove Reputation at 152 and Likability at 161.  Interesting, this “image” topper drew a huge Purchase score of 259!

Three Lowest-Scoring Outdoor Signage

1. Tequila Cazadores

Someone spent a lot of money on this building banner that scored a 47 ABX Index for advertising effectiveness. Given that a score of 100 is “Average,” you get the idea.  Every KPI was in the far-negatives since the Brand name  at the top of the building could barely be read, the Message wasn’t clear, the ad wasn’t considered Relevant and and panelists scored Dislike at an enormous 263 points.  Of interest is the ABX Gender Equality Index™ which shows viewers did not believe the male actor was portrayed in a respectful, role-model sort of way.  In checking scores of respondents who are Drinkers Only, the scores changed very little. In the end, Reputation was a mere 15 and intended Action included no positive CTAs. 

Here’s the irony: Cazadores is actually doing great work advancing alcohol responsibility and has a great history to tell.  The brand’s other OOH boards use the same “Born in” message and male character, and  don’t score much better.  We hope Cazadores sees this analysis and takes time to rethink how they portray their wonderful story.

2. American Express

Then we have this digital poster ad that someone forgot to proof.  Can you make out what the Brand name is or what the headline means?  Or what the product is?  This poor ad failed in every KPI and CTA.  


Finally, we had to include this poster stretched across a garden.  What is Betterment?  At a Brand Awareness score of 69, it’s a safe bet no one knows.  What does the Message mean with a  score of 49?  And what is “better” about stretching a sign across a leaky garden — or did the moisture come from other sources?  Even the female actress was scored down for being part of an ad that makes no sense.

In summary, good OOH ads are simple, clean, colorful, creative and understandable at a distance.  Bad OOH ads hide brand names, don’t communicate clear messages, aren’t carefully proofed and are placed in sketchy locations with scary moisture running down them.  What else?  We’d love to hear your thoughts!

If you have questions about this article or how ABX can help your brand, contact us HERE.

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Jeff Schamel

Vice President, Operations

Jeff Schamel Directs Operations for ABX with Experience from IPSOS and P&G

Jeff has more than 25 years of market research experience including project management, client service, operations, production and sales.

Before joining the ABX Senior Management team, Jeff was a Senior Account Manager at Ipsos, working with Procter & Gamble and other client assignments. Prior to that, he was Senior Project Manager for Opinion One, where he was responsible for guiding the company’s online, mall and other initiatives for eight years.

Jeff began his market research career with Cooper Research while participating in the Professional Practice Program at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio. Upon graduating with his BS in Marketing and Management, Jeff led a team of data analysts as Group Manager at Matrixx Marketing Research (now Concentrix).

Jeff’s broad in-depth marketing research experiences enable him to bring a unique perspective to directing operations that creates effective and efficient environments to support a wide range of client activities.  Having come up in the industry alongside the advent and progression of online interviewing, he has a unique perspective on the benefits and challenges of conducting quality research resulting in meaningful results.

Jeff considers himself an amateur music historian and sports enthusiast, as well as a family man, who takes advantage of the many outdoor activities in his community including biking, hiking, kayaking and swimming.

Dr. Peter Moomaw

Co-Founder, Vice President, Development

Peter is the primary developer of operations technology and data analysis. As a chief visionary on the Research and Development team, Peter works to generate innovative ideas for the continued development of processes and protocols.

Peter brings 17+ years’ experience in software development in the market research industry. He was previously at Opinion One, where he was integral in the development of research software systems covering a number of areas.

Peter has a BA in Mathematics, a BS in Physics, and a PhD in Physics, all from the University Cincinnati.

Martin Geraghty
Martin Geraghty

Vice President, Client Services

Geraghty Brings Experience from Roper Starch, GfK, MRI and IPSOS to ABX

Martin has more than 20 years of experience in the market research space including business development, methodology, product design, operations, client service, analysis and sales. He is a member the ABX Management Group with both client-service and operational responsibilities. Before joining ABX, Martin held senior management positions at Roper Starch Worldwide, GfK, MRI (Mediamark Research) and Ipsos. At Ipsos, he managed client service covering all aspects of the research process including research design. He managed the development and implementation of several brand and advertising measurement programs across a broad range of business sectors, helping clients maximize marketing objectives and return on investment. Prior to joining Ipsos, Martin was Vice President at MRI and was involved in business development, day-to-day management and long-term planning and growth for syndicated and custom programs. He also developed and updated the organization’s operational infrastructure to bring new and improved measurements to the marketplace. Before joining MRI, Martin was a Vice President of Operations at GfK. He managed researchers developing programs to monitor and improve methodologies. He played a key role in overseeing profit responsibility of client programs. Prior to his role at GfK, he was Vice President of Research and Operations at Roper Starch Worldwide.
Michael Alf

Co-Founder Ocucom and ABX, Vice President, Software Development

Michael Alf Brings 12 Years’ Software Engineering in the Market Research Industry

Michael is one Founders of Ocucom, of which ABX is a division, and has over 12 years’ of software engineering experience in the market research industry. As a Lead Software Engineer with Ocucom, he brings a unique blend of a technological background along with hands-on market research experience. Michael specializes in providing custom software solutions utilizing Ocucom’s dynamic software platform to address unique client needs in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Prior to starting with Ocucom, Michael was a senior software engineer at Opinion One in Cincinnati, where he was one of the principal architects of the OASIS 2 Survey Software Package. He also played a key role in developing a licensable solution to bring to the market place as well as handling the logistics of on-site training and support of end-client users.

Michael obtained his B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Cincinnati.

Greg Tunstill

Co-Founder, Chief Information Officer

Greg Tunstill Leads the Creation of ABX Communications Tools

Greg Tunstill, a founder of ABX, is the Chief Information Officer responsible for ABX’s technical infrastructure and maintenance. He also leads the design and development of ABX’s communications tools, a critical component of its technology services.

Prior to joining ABX, Greg was Director of Network Operations of Opinion One since its inception in 1992. He designed and developed the communications systems that were the core of its data collection networks and was responsible for continuing development and implementation of information technologies. Prior to his position at Opinion One, he designed inventory control and expert systems for BellSouth field offices and worked as a consultant and independent contractor. In 1991 he joined Americom Research as a systems engineer where he advanced to Director of Network Operations and met members of the team that formed Opinion One.

Greg is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.

Julian Brown

Chief Technology Officer

Julian Brown is an ABX Founder and Chief Visionary for Strategic Planning

Julian brings 20+ years of software engineering and market research experience to ABX. As one of the Founders and in his position as Chief Technology Officer, Julian is the chief visionary responsible for strategic planning and development.

His primary day to day roles include management of software development, oversight of survey production, and lead architect for custom software development projects. As the principal technology architect, Julian adapts emerging technologies for use in market research. He is responsible for maintaining the “continuous development” philosophy.

Before becoming one of the Founders, Julian was Vice President, Software Engineering at Opinion One. In this capacity, he was responsible for the design and development of Opinion One’s core technology and licensing products.

Prior to Opinion One, Julian worked for Americom Research, starting as a Software Engineer and progressing to Director, Software Development. While at Americom Research, Julian pioneered the design and creation of one of the market research industry’s first fully interactive computer-aided interviewing suites.

Julian received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Middle Tennessee State University.

Gary Getto


A Pioneer in Measuring Across all Media Types

Gary has an extensive background in product development, strategic planning, and sales/marketing. He is a frequent speaker to the advertising, marketing, and public relations communities.

Gary is a pioneer in efforts to measure and analyze the combined impact of news coverage, social media, and advertising communications on key business metrics, such as sales or product preferences, with ground-breaking work linking communications activity to business outcomes. He was also one of the first to apply artificial intelligence to better understand how communications impacts consumer behavior.

As part of these pioneering integrated measurements, the need to benchmark every ad and build a comprehensive database of advertising performance metrics for evaluating all advertising creative became clear. Gary has been part of the ABX management group that developed the methodology, technology, and criteria for measuring advertising performance globally, and at scale, in an affordable manner. 

Now Gary and all ABX partners work with communications leaders across a diverse set of industries to expand that understanding by incorporating the first-ever Gender Equality Index™, creative measurement solutions for ESG, Diversity & Inclusion, Ethnicities (in and out-of-country), Product Placement/Integration, Brand Fit™, Gaming, Audio and more.

Gary holds a B.S., in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University and a Masters in Management Science from Stevens Institute of Technology.

J. J. Klein​

Chairman & CEO

Developing Valid and Reliable Information through Syndicated and Custom Research

JJ Klein has devoted his entire career to developing more valid and reliable information through syndicated and custom longitudinal research programs for Fortune 500 companies. This extensive knowledge base enabled him to create and develop ABX, which now offers the most accurate normative database for advertising effectiveness measurement in the marketplace.

JJ brings more than 35 years of marketing, research, consulting, and technology experience in designing and developing methodologies and programs for long-term growth. He has exceptional strength in domestic and international new business development, strategic planning, and identifying and tracking consumer, retail, and industry trends.

Leadership in Top Global Research Firms

Early in his career, after attending City University in New York as a math and science major, JJ joined Simmons Market Research Bureau as a Project Director. Over time, he rose to Associate Executive Vice President. Among his accomplishments, JJ created the first online interactive data analysis and delivery system for agencies, media, institutions, client, and service companies.  

JJ and Bill Simmons then founded a new venture …Three Sigma Research Center. It was here that JJ, Chief Operating Officer, created the first major syndicated rating system for Newspapers in the U.S., which later became the Scarborough Report. Three Sigma Research was eventually sold back to Simmons; Simmons sold it to Scarborough; and then Scarborough was acquired by Nielsen.

Following the sale of Three Sigma, JJ joined Audits & Surveys Worldwide as a principal leading the sales tracking and market share audits for a broad range of retail and service establishments both domestically and internationally. Following the acquisition of Audits & Surveys by GfK, JJ joined Roper Starch as Executive Director, reporting directly to the Chairman.

Creation and Development of Ocucom™ and ABX™

In 2004, as he continued his industry visionary travels, all of JJ’s experience came together as he tackled new solutions for market research in the Internet age. He and four partners founded Ocucom™ and invented a research-proven, respondent-oriented Ocular™ approach to internet sampling and multi-modal interviewing methodology. For the first time, respondents could answer text-based questions within a visual communication world where the computer screen was the interviewer/communicator. Inventions continued such as Ocucom’s PreCast™, the first long-form video viewing solution in the industry.

Also, during this time, JJ’s early leadership in internet research methodology caught the eye of top-tier global research competitors. He ended up designing methodologies for their online survey capabilities.

Then, in early 2012, he formed ABX™ as an outgrowth of Ocucom. JJ had conceived the idea for ABX some 15 years prior but had to wait for internet maturation and online panel/sampling companies to evolve. ABX partners focused on JJ’s ABX concept and methodology by building an infrastructure and a 5-year formative database before opening to the market in 2018. The new company offered the first high-quality Ocular research system for all ads in all media types with detailed, never-before analytics; the first syndicated, all-media type ad effectiveness platform; results in 24-to-48 hours on dashboard, and significantly lower costs. At ABX, as at Ocucom, inventions have continued such as the expansion of the ABX syndicated program into the first-ever global solution, and the first Gender Equality Index™. Solutions have expanded to include creative measurement for ESG, Diversity & Inclusion, Ethnicities (in and out of country), Product Placement/Integration, Brand Fit, Gaming, Audio, and more.

A Career Devoted to Validity and Reliability in Market Research

JJ’s background brings together an extremely unique blend of extensive experience in designing and developing global and regional longitudinal research programs. His accomplishments include the design and initiation of programs and methods that produce more valid and reliable information. They also include contributions to the market research profession through association membership, speaking, writing, and presenting.

Like Nielsen for TV, Arbitron for Radio, and MRI for Magazine, JJ’s original design for the newspaper program continues as the Scarborough Report ratings standard for Newspaper.  Today, JJ leads ABX as a syndicated and custom research service for ad effectiveness and gender equality, which have quickly become the gold standards of their own.

Angela Jeffrey, APR

Vice President, Brand Management

National Award-Winning Veteran of Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing

Angela is an internationally known speaker and national award-winning veteran of public relations, advertising and marketing.  She has been a teacher and leader in the use of metrics to measure communications impact for over 20 years, especially at the intersection of PR and Advertising.

Angela is primarily responsible for all ABX marketing efforts, and for projects that involve PR or social media measurement. She is the primary driver of our collaboration with the prestigious Institute for Public Relations as we develop methods to measure the impact of PR and social media on advertising effectiveness.

Prior to joining ABX, Angela was Strategy Director at Salience Insight, (now CARMA), a global provider of PR effectiveness measurement. Previously, she was a Vice President at Surveillance Data, Inc., an international analytics powerhouse that specializes in predictive modeling. Angela continued as a key leader upon the sale of her division to VMS and helped develop Vantage, with Gary Getto, the first platform to measure the combined impact of PR and Advertising.

Angela graduated summa cum laude from Southern Methodist University with a BFA in Journalism and BBA in Marketing.



Diane Light Waight

Vice President, Business Development

Diane Light Waight handles Sales, Business Development, and Marketing for ABX

Diane has 20+ years of experience helping Marketing, Advertising, and PR decision-makers at global brands, media companies, and agencies increase their ROI by connecting and authentically engaging their target customers through Sales, Business Development. MarTech, AdTech, Big Data, Market Research, SaaS, eCommerce, and Integrated Marketing.

She is passionate about her family, entertainment, health & wellness, empowering women, and environmental sustainability.