They go up as buildings go down. They line walkways and adorn construction sites. We know you’ve seen them – because they’re everywhere.
Wildposting – or “poster sniping” in Out-of-Home lingo, exists in almost every urban center. Wildposting is a part of a fly-by-night, grey economy that specializes in ephemeral advertising: hand bills and wheat-pasted one sheets that go up with the knowledge that the ads may very well come down just days – or hours – after they are posted.
The ubiquity of wildpostings has led many of our clients to ask us whether they’re worth it. We’re biased, of course, but at the end of the day, we’re poster people… so here’s our guide to evaluating whether wildpostings will work for you.
A few things to consider:
What kind of impact do you want to make?
The major benefit of classic, wheat-pasted wildpostings is repetition: the quintessential wildposting features a series of the same image (or a series of alternating, coordinated images) in a row, generally covering the walls of construction sites, abandoned buildings, or, unfortunately, in some cases, commissioned public art murals.
The reiteration of a series of images lends itself to emblazoning a particular image or message on the minds of passerby. But then to make an impact, your image or message has to particularly resonate. A major downside of repetitive wildpostings, especially in visually chaotic urban centers, is the tendency of these wheat-pasted displays to recede into the streetscape, becoming a backdrop to city life rather than a focal point.
Which brings us to quality.
How much do you care about it?
The practice of poster sniping is frequently associated with street artists and graffiti for a reason: what goes up usually comes down… or gets covered by something else.
Perhaps the biggest con of wildpostings is their short life span: wheat-pasted posters that are not removed by local authorities suffer from damage both from the elements and the whims of free-wheeling locals. If you live in New York City, we’re certain you’ve seen a, erm, phallic image scrawled across an otherwise PG-rated street-side wildposting at least once (if not a few times a day).
If you’re looking to max out an extremely tight budget, wildpostings seem like the obvious solution: as many highly profitable wildposting companies will tell you, low-quality paper and wheat-paste cost pennies on the dollar. For volunteer-run campaigns, DIY wildposting is the perfect option.
On the flip side – to mount a campaign with broad reach and sustained duration, wildposting services are not cheap – especially given the limited duration of sniping campaigns.
While these companies are paid to make sure a certain number of flyers or posters go up, they do not maintain or replace the inevitably lost or damaged papers – so a budget of thousands to cover posting only ensures a brief moment of visibility.
Finally: Are you willing to take a risk?
Because poster sniping companies typically do not possess their own inventory networks, clients may have limited ability to control where their message appears. Firms that specialize in poster sniping also generally do not compensate property owners for posting or for the damage these posts can cause (and, in some cases, these firms also neglect to compensate their contractors).
If you’re looking to mount a quick and dirty campaign, mix up some glue and get your staple gun ready: wildposting just might work for you! Otherwise, our recommendation is – as always – to diversify your media mix as much as budget allows. We’re biased, but these days, the integration of print and digital seems like a no-brainer for driving ROAS.