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Poor poster layout: Zurich

This poster is part of the branding activity that Zurich is going through to get Eagle Star out of our Irish minds and replace it with Zurich.

When I first saw the posters, I thought they looked good, but I couldn't see what they were all about. I saw quite a few of them from my car on my way to work and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't make out the wording from behind the wheel, and I never got a chance to get out of the car. My best guess was: Airline of some sort? But then I thought maybe that was how the national flag carrier airlines would have done it years ago - sophisticated, understated, clean; but not now that they have to compete with the cheap and cheerful look of Ryanair and the like.

It was only when I came across the campaign in another medium that I realised what it was all about, and that is not the way things should be. I'm all for integrated campaigns, and I accept that these posters are best viewed by pedestrians, but it is an incontrovertible fact that a company should make the most of their advertising budgets and therefore also deliver some kind of stand-alone message in all formats to all audiences that will encounter it.

The text in this ad should have been bigger.

Even more serious problems emerged when I had a chance to look closer: the font sizes are so varied that the eyes find it hard to get a hold - "where do we start? what's important?" And the messages they carry are not laid out logically.

The concept MIGHT have been good enough to carry the message, but the layout does NOT deliver the concept. The idea of "We've all had different names" needed to be given the top billing to make sure people understand what it's all about, and the featured celebrity's nicknames could have followed that. The third line, the KEY message, "Zurich - a new name for Eagle Star" is given a font size and position on a par with the downplayed concept: "We've all had different names." It should have been the final message, and instead of being written as a word, "a new name for Eagle Star" should have been simply placed under the main company logo & name.

But the concept may be a problem itself, getting in the way of the basic message. In fact, the matter is not about nicknames or alternative names, it's about a name CHANGE. That idea only comes across fully in the poster as a kind of coincidental afterthought, in the use of Zurich's general corporate tagline - "Because change happenZ", which just happens to cover the message of this campaign as well as the idea of insurance.

All in all, a good-looking ad, but it fails to live up to expectations in numerous respects. (Remind you of a certain celebrity?)

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