By Miriam Buireu, Account Director, PSI

Piccadilly Circus has a long & rich history as an iconic landmark for London and the UK. So when Ocean and Land Securities’ announced exciting plans for the new Piccadilly Lights, creating a unique and prestigious new platform for brands to reach global consumers in the UK’s capital, it represented far more than just an upgrade of an OOH advertising location. 

We wanted to understand what Piccadilly Circus really means to people, how they perceive the brands that advertise there, and how the planned improvement might effect this.

PSI has carried out a piece of research to understand how consumers currently view Piccadilly Circus and Piccadilly Lights, how brands currently advertising on Piccadilly Lights are perceived and most importantly to understand the benefits of the proposed improvements to the site.

Methodology

Earlier this year, we spoke to 300 people about Piccadilly in face-to-face interviews. A third of them were International tourists, and all had visited the area at least twice in the last week. This is what we learned:

Famous, busy and iconic

Current attitudes towards Piccadilly Circus as an area are positive with consumers agreeing that the area is seen as a famous, busy and iconic (99%, 91% and 85% respectively).

The Piccadilly Lights clearly dominate the area – 100% of our UK respondents notice the large illuminated screens on their visits to the area.

The first things consumers think about when asked about the Piccadilly Lights relate to its size, prominence, and colourful display. It is also described as a vibrant, entertaining and modern landmark. (94% of responses had positive connotations).

The Piccadilly Lights as they currently stand are well-loved – the majority of people agree that they have a relevant place in a global city like London (95%); that they are iconic (92%), and grab attention (92%) from passers-by.

Powerful advertising

Consumers overwhelmingly recalled the Piccadilly Lights over all other forms of advertising in the area – 8 out of 10 responded spontaneously named the Piccadilly Lights.

Brands advertising on the screen enjoy a wealth of benefits –2/3 of those respondents who said they notice advertisers on Piccadilly Lights agree that they are global, modern and innovative brands.

Brands who advertise on the Piccadilly Lights have a universal appeal – 86% of consumers view them as “global brands”.

95% of consumers think that the site “is the kind of advertising I’d expect to see in a global city like London… it is the kind of site you see big brands advertised on”.

A glimpse of the future…

Consumer sentiment is very positive, enthusiastic and receptive to these changes. Overall, 83% of consumers feel that the proposed changes to the site will make for more memorable advertising.

90% think that the introduction of the rotational basis of advertisements will afford brands more noticeability.

93% think that the opportunity for one brand to dominate the screen will afford brands more impactful messaging.

Overall 86% of consumers agree that modernising the screen will modernise the entire area and a further 77% agree that the improvements to the site will not impact the heritage of Piccadilly Lights 86% agree they will take more notice of brands advertising on the new Piccadilly screen.

These remarkably positive attitudes about Piccadilly and the planned changes demonstrate the vast opportunity for global brands. In Piccadilly, advertisers can genuinely connect with on-the-go audiences and create advertising which is more powerful because of the context in which it is seen. We’re excited about what the future holds for brand advertising at Piccadilly.

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