Best Outdoor Advertising Campaigns

The Best Outdoor Advertising Campaigns

Creativity is a crucial part of any successful outdoor media campaign. With billboards being a very popular form of marketing all over the world, there’s no shortage of great examples to choose from. We’ve analyzed a variety of outdoor media from all over the world and put together our list of the best outdoor advertising campaigns out there!

McDonalds: What Time Is It Billboard

McDonalds What Time is It Billboard

Sundials have been a method of telling the time since some of the earliest parts of human history. This creative outdoor advertising campaign uses this method of time tracking in order to bind together the “time aspect” of its message, by linking the actual Earth time dynamically with the ad.

Tylenol: Wrecking Ball Billboard

Tylenol Wrecking Ball Outdoor Media

For whatever reason, painkiller commercials and billboards seem to be in love with visual metaphors. Most of the time, this is in an attempt to show empathy for those that struggle with frequent headaches and migraines. It’s as if they are saying, “We get your pain- we have a solution.”

Pond’s:  Little Pore Cleaning Guys Billboard

Ponds Pores Creative Billboard

Speaking of visual metaphors, here’s another good outdoor advertising campaign. The concept of “little men” doing tasks beyond the range of the visible eye is a very common one which helps allow people to have trust and understanding in the process that takes place.

McDonalds: BIG Mac Billboard

Big MAC Creative Billboard

This ad doesn’t even need to use words to get its message across. “This burger is so big, it can’t even fit on two billboards.” While of course, the burger’s depiction on an ad isn’t representative of its actual size, it serves as an easy visual shorthand which clicks with the brain naturally.

YMCA: Basketball Billboard

Creative Basketball Billboard

It’s fun to stay at the YMCA~ Nostalgic 1970’s throwbacks aside, this outdoor advertising ad campaign is an effective combination of form and function. Instead of simply showing an image of the inside of one of the YMCA facilities, this ad instead deigns to bring a piece of the facility to the viewer themselves.

LEGO: Constructing With Bricks Billboard

Lego Construction Billboard

This creative outdoor media is less of a billboard and more of a dynamic outdoor art piece. This ad uses the contrast between the concept of LEGO as a child’s construction toy and the serious nature of real-world construction in order to grab the attention of its audience.

Nestle: This Candy’s For The Birds Billboard

Nestle Bars Billboard

Anyone who lives in a major metropolitan area will no doubt be familiar with wild flocks of birds terrorizing parks and restaurants in the attempt to scrounge up food. This ad uses this familiar visual in an attempt to demonstrate how desirable and delicious these Nestle candy bars are.

 DHL: Unpacking The Ad Billboard

DHL Creative Billboard

Hello, your billboard has arrived! Given how iconic DHL’s packaging and branding is, this creative billboard ad doesn’t really need to do much other than remind people that the brand exists. People like to receive packages, so seeing a giant package unboxed with an express label on it triggers a specific subset of endorphins within the brain that the audience will then associate with the brand.

Science World: Diamonds Aren’t Rare Billboard

Science World Diamonds Billboard

In the world of writing, there’s an age-old adage which is show don’t tell. This concept can be held up to many other mediums and industries, even advertising! In this case, this outdoor advertising campaign comprised of diamonds makes for a quite effective means of getting their point across. It’s one thing for someone to say a fact and another for them to prove it.

Denver Water: Maximum Efficiency Billboard

Denver Water Billboard

Usually the flashier the billboard, the better. In this case, the exact opposite is true. While this creative outdoor media ad still defies audience expectations and grabs your attention, there’s no denying it’s simplicity. Given that this ad is to spread awareness about a serious issue and not to sell a product, there is also a level of gravity and somberness imparted by its stark nature.

Classic Retro Billboards

Best Vintage Billboards

Advertising has evolved much over the ages. Before the advent of cheap, high-quality photo printing, painted illustrations were required to cover the large area of billboards. This meant that vintage billboards were works of art in and of themselves. Due to the limitations imposed by the use of illustrations, even the design of such ads was different. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most effective, beautiful, and well-crafted vintage billboards to analyze and deconstruct.

Vintage Pepsi Billboard

Pepsi Vintage Billboard

For anyone who has seen the classic 1985 popcorn science fiction film, “Back to the Future”, this billboard might bring back a bit of nostalgia. There’s a scene in which the main character travels from an empty lot in 1955 to the same space in 1985, except the area is now occupied by a newly built suburban neighborhood. While this ad is clearly about Pepsi, it still manages to be highly representative of its era- a time when suburban development was on the rise as the American middle class prospered.

Perhaps the most interesting and striking aspect of this billboard is that it uses scale in order to defy the expectations of the viewer and catch their attention.

Small objects such as the Pepsi bottle cap are drawn to dwarf traditionally larger objects such as the house being constructed. The technique is quite subtle, yet still manages to disarm and interest viewers.

Vintage Coca-Cola Billboard

Coca Cola Puerto Rico

Of course, if we are to look at old Pepsi ads, it is inevitable that vintage Coca-Cola ads be brought up as a contrasting point. The evolution of the marketing behind Coca-Cola is an always fascinating subject. Here is a rare snapshot of the brand’s humble beginnings. Simple, yet ever present, this ad was found in Puerto Rico and was among the first of the brand’s international marketing efforts.

Coca-Cola’s presence has been felt around the world for decades, this image highlights just how long Coca-Cola has been in the forefront of popular culture.

1920’s Spanish Tile Billboard

Vintage Spanish Tile Billboard

The ad pictured above is from a relatively recent photograph, meaning that this ad has remained intact for almost 100 years at this point, all thanks to the quality of craftsmanship and the materials used.

This billboard found in Sevilla, Spain dates back to the 1920’s and is a beautiful and quite rare find. Comprised of painted tiles, it has more in common with traditional Spanish art than advertising materials. The amount of detail, care, and raw artistry that has gone into this piece comes off as incredibly uncharacteristic with what audiences have come to expect out of ads. Thrilling and interesting they may be- modern ads are ultimately understood to be disposable and fleeting.

Motorcar Silhouettes Retro Billboard

Vintage Billboards

Flat design is highly distinguished by shape and color instead of perspective, lighting, and detail. These two elements are commonly found being manipulated in vintage ads. This ad is a prime example of how shape can be used and taken advantage of in an ad.

This ad for some motorcars is focusing specifically on the shapes of the front of each car, relying upon the highly distinctive and iconic silhouettes of the vehicles to add impact to the billboard’s message.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Vintage Billboard

Camaro Vintage Billboard

This famous ad for the then brand-new Chevrolet Camaro is worth highlighting thanks to its striking use of bold colors.

As previously mentioned, color is the other side of the coin when it comes to flat design. While the last ad made great use of shapes and silhouettes, this Camaro ad chooses to shift the focus mainly to its usage of color, though the shape here is still very distinctive and clear.

The high contrast between the yellow, red, white, and black, makes it stand out and leaves an impression in the mind of the viewer. Such imagery has had a drastic impact on popular culture, inspiring visual effects in movies such as Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” and in video games such as “The House of the Dead”.

2.5D Oldsmobile Retro Billboard

Oldsmobile Vintage Billboard

The beauty of billboards as an advertising medium comes from the fact that they exist within three dimensions. Many modern billboards take advantage of this by making use of models and other 3D constructs. As previously mentioned, however, many vintage billboards favored flat designs and thus approached the use of the Z-axis in a different way, utilizing a method

In this example, the billboard is comprised of multiple 2D elements layered in such a way to give the impression of depth, guiding the eye from the front left to the back right.